photo by StefanG81
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post after the Christchuch quake in New Zealand. While New Zealand is closer to my heart, I couldn't let my thoughts for the victims of the Japan quake, tsunami, and a threatening nuclear disaster go unvoiced. I'm so troubled that if I think too deeply on it, I feel the sting of tears threatening.
I was working at home yesterday, which afforded the dubious luxury of unfettered access to video news coverage of the disaster. The images haunted my sleep last night. One of the most arresting pictures is this aerial video of the tsunami. The dichotomy of the pristine, regular pattern of the agricultural land being consumed by the monstrous churning maelstrom of mud and debris is nearly irreconcilable in my mind. Another still photo in a slide show at life.com shows the first wave bearing down on the coast:
In the foreground, cars are lined up at what appears to be a fuel station on a normal Friday afternoon and a few seconds after the frame was shot, they were surrounded by devastation. Can you even imagine what that must be like? I see these pictures and I have to force my brain to accept that they are not the product of some CGI special effect.
In my post about the New Zealand quake, I mentioned the theory that these sorts of things seem to happen in threes. Perhaps Christchurch was simply the first blow in a new round. Scientists have claimed that there isn't necessarily a direct link between earthquakes in far-flung regions of the globe. Maybe, but if you look at a map of the Pacific Rim, the west coast of North America is the glaring exception to the recent pattern of large quakes. (There was a 6.8 magnitude quake in Chile on March 6, 2011 as well.)
I know that I live in an earthquake-prone area. A seriously major quake hits the Pacific Northwest on average about every 500 years. The last one was about 300 years ago, which either means we've got a couple of centuries of peace to go, or the clock is ticking and the alarm could blow at any minute. It's a scary thought that has crossed my mind a few times as I head to my car, parked in the bowels of a 20-story building each day.
D is a handy dude to have around in a survival situation, as preparation for the worst case scenario is a kind of a hobby for him. But this weekend, I've asked him to take some time to make sure I'm a bit more up to speed as well. Statistically, I'm nearly as likely to be away from him in a disaster situation as I am to be with him. I'm also following some of the advice at Lifehacker's guide to preparation for a disaster. You never think it will really happen to you, until perhaps one day it does.
For the victims of the Japan disaster, my heart is truly hurting for you. Many blessings, and may you find some peace in the chaos surrounding you now.