Monday, March 14, 2011

Wanted One Really Big Hole

I've been watching the tragic and devastating news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan through the weekend. Like everyone I'm fascinated by the aerial images of the towns almost totally washed away by the tsumani waves and by the images of people on the ground trying to make sense of the life now after everything they had was lost somewhere in the massive debris.

I was also fascinated by the science of it, the off-shore thrust-fault earthquake which they're now saying has reshapped the coast of Japan for over 200 miles lengthwise and 50 miles off-shore. This will change the ocean and near-shore dynamics not just in that area and on the coast, but for hundreds of miles along the continental shelf along the stretch of Japan.

But all of it simply amazed me as to the size of the debris itself, and the many questions. Like, where do you put all the debris? Some can be recycled and some burned, but some will need to be buried. So, where? Where will they put all the leftover debris? No one doubts the magnitude of this disaster, but let's not overlook the potential disaster which sits in all that debris.

Looking at the video and images of the tsunami, it's clear, to me at least, that not much will be recovered from many areas to return to their rightful owners. Possesions were moved miles away, mixed with water and mud, and the huge amount of debris from other homes and buildings. And all those cars are lost, only to be recycled.

It's all a sad reminder of our vulnerability to nature and the immediacy of our lifelong possesions. All can be destroyed and washed away in minutes, with only our memory of them and only the dimmest of hope to find anything of value, however small. And the fragility of our own life. The immediacy by which we can be lost, swept away by forces far greater than we know or even imagine.

If anything this tragedy teaches us is both our life and our possessions are at best tenuous on this earth, and always subject to the whims and power of nature and events. Let's remember that when we watch the news about Japan and about the people. We could be there, and what would we be asking ourself?

1 comment:

  1. I had to evacuate for the tsunami warning. Nothing happened, though. Next perhaps we'll all be fleeing radiation clouds? I don't know.

    I feel bad for the people who are going through all of this stuff.