Monday, March 14, 2011

Life on Earth

It’s bath time.  And there is still light in the sky.  The trees look like lungs, dark against the pale grey sky, empty still of leaves.  Every little branch that has survived this brutal winter is stretched out, fully exposed, begging for carbon dioxide, for sunlight.  I was looking out the other day and thought that it must seem so strange, if you’ve never seen large trees, that we live surrounded by such massive creatures.  And now I’m looking out, imagining a tsunami wave, rushing through, destroying my world, carrying away the foundation of our existence.  I keep thinking of the Rudyard Kipling poem, If.  Could I stoop to build again with worn out tools?  I guess you do what you have to do.  And today the Japanese have no choice but to just put one foot in front of the other, do the next thing.

The season change is imminent.  I can feel the vibrancy in my bones.  The melancholy is there still, as is the chill.  But it’s lifting.  I opened the doors today to let in the fresh air.  I feel like one of the trees, reaching out, trying to expose myself to the outside, to the sunshine, to the air.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

And all the while, all day, I’ve been thinking about Japan.  I’ve been trying to imagine what we would do, what it would look like here, all of us carrying our babies, walking toward shelter, hoping for water.  I can’t even imagine the panic of every mother trying to protect her babies, to keep them hydrated, fed, warm and comfortable.  I didn’t sleep last night because, once again, my people are sick.  Zoe was up most of the night coughing and crying.  In the morning I was cleaning in our bedroom and looking at the bed, her little head indentation on the center pillow, her sippy cup still there.  And I smiled and was thinking how glad I am that we’re in a king size bed now with plenty of room for extra bodies.  And then my mind flashed, to families making a home on cots, to people trapped, watching their businesses, their cars and homes and every single object they own swept away in a single wave. 

I usually start these posts with some point, with some idea about where I’m going and the clarity I’ve come to understand.  I usually write with purpose, with intent and then feel satisfied at the end.  But today, I’m just writing because I see no reason.  I see no point. 

The universe is immense.  The earth is filled with power.  We’re just little tiny creatures living on this planet hurling through space around a burning ball of gas and fire.  We’re nothing.  The truth is that we’re damn lucky to have gotten to exist at all.  No matter what way you cut it, we’re so fortunate to have gotten the chance to live, to experience this life on this blue planet.  We get this idea that all these ridiculous things are important.  We spend a stupid amount of time worrying about children’s birthday parties and what to make for dinner.  We try to create an identity, be different or the same to the right amount that makes us happy.   We work so hard to make our houses homes.  We want it to be beautiful and happy and give us some sense of belonging. 

When we fly in the little plane, I’m always struck with how short everything is.  When you’re on the earth looking up, you think we’re taking up a lot of air space, growing taller with our buildings and towers and houses.  But when you fly, you realize that we’re all just so trapped by gravity, tiny little creatures with our tiny little structures all trapped on the earth. 

I kept thinking about that today when I was looking at the before and after satellite photos of Japan.  The water just wiped out everything.  Every single thing that man had built, an entire society of businesses and homes, wiped out in six minutes. 

You can’t tell me God is in charge of that. 

That’s just fucked up shit. 

We’re all just subject to the universe we’re in.  And now we’re all somewhat affected.  The earthquake shifted the mass of the earth, causing it to spin faster, shortening our days.  We have no say.  We have no impact.   

Tonight I’m warm.  Tonight I’ll sleep in a comfortable bed.  Tonight we had enough food to feed our kids.  Tonight our house is standing, our cars are parked.  Tonight we are safe.  And for that I’m grateful.  Tomorrow, who knows. 


1 comment:

from the upp side said...

You always make me think - and I love your imagery, you write with such openness. I dont always agree - but I'm always moved by the things you say. And Ive had Japan on my mind too - I cant imagine the mothers there. Can you imagine if we were there? Have mercy. Life is truly precious and but a breath.

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