I'm wondering...is it because I was watching CNN at 3 a.m. Friday, yesterday, in anticipation of the faint ripple of a tsunami that panicked Hawaii for a few hours, creating a school holiday and not much else. Is that why, as I am reviewing images of the devastation and ongoing threats of horrible destruction on Honshu in Japan (that recall images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), all I can do is alternate wiping my eyes with exclamations of "Holy shit!" and "OMG." A week after my little sake and shochu adventure, and days after my Ash Wednesday observance, reality bites. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Going with the flow?
When warning sirens went off around here at 10 p.m. Thursday, I turned off my wuxia drama to see what was going on. I'd heard about the Japan quake (and one in China too, on the Yunnan-Myanmar border) earlier, and paid attention to the warning. We are not in an inundation zone, so I just made a note to be alert at 3 a.m. when wave effects were expected. Titillated by the tidal surge in Japan, Hawaii people were out lining up for hours to buy gas and water and groceries just in case (even though we live in a hurricane prone zone and are constantly reminded to BE PREPARED with water, food, batteries, and first aid supplies). The Wizard was up monitoring the situation -- he had a responsibility to his organization -- but I just watched (rubbernecked). Observing the paltry local ripples on TV for a while, I went back to sleep, glad I was not a newsman interviewing a disaster specialist in the wee hours.
Which was was mildly entertaining. A geophysicist with the Tsunami Warning Center who was answering questions for the media kept going in and out of the building (which happens to be well within the inundation zone). At one point, looking jazzed on caffeine, finding some meaning in his life in the kind of excitement his profession studies but doesn't really want to see, he said, "I come back out here to talk to you because it's crazy in there." He was doing all he could to avoid saying "no problem" for Hawaii--it was up to the governor to finally announce that nothing was happening, and all the schools and clinics had closed for no reason.
The effect on me was just a restless night; the local consequences were all totally unrelated to the actual event. In the morning, our AT&T service was down. The Wizard's iPhone wasn't working and I confirmed that there was no service with my iPad. Probably too many people tweeting. Lesson learned: maintain the landline.
But now, trying to comprehend the devastation in Japan from the tidal surge across land I have flown over, terrain that always looks like a tidy model train layout, is overwhelming. All of the silly discussions and speculations I've been indulging in about politics and spiritual development seem a little trivial. History --or geophysics--repeats itself. And we are still at the mercy of nature, complicated by man's efforts to control it. No one wants to see this:
Scanning a Child for Radiation Effects
I would rather be reading Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go with that child.
But not with these images, below, truly scary and speaking for themselves, not toybox clutter, and lacking the cute mice and cats and dogs in a world where nuclear reactors don't explode and kids have to be evacuated or pulled from rubble or found by sniffer dogs.