a personal collection of original music, photographs, observations and other random stuff that happens inside my head…

“Each Man’s Death Diminishes Me”

“I took my eyes away; we didn’t want to be reminded of how little we counted,

how quickly, simply, and anonymously death came.”

(Graham Greene, The Quiet American)

Yesterday, March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake shook Japan – it was the biggest seismic event in Japan’s recorded history. Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology reported that the quake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale, threw the earth off its axis point by 9.8 INCHES.   The US Geological Survey reported that the main island of Japan moved nearly 8 feet.

Like the rest of the world, I am haunted by the images of the devastation that ensued.  My heart aches for the people who have lost loved ones, for the tens of thousands of people missing.  Watching footage of the tsunami sweeping away ships, automobiles, homes, and entire buildings was a horrifying experience.  But it almost becomes too much to bear to contemplate the pain, fear, shock and terror of the thousands of people who were powerless to help themselves or others against the will of an angry earth.

After the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, I remember experiencing the same feeling of helplessness and despondency.  Stunned and emotionally devastated by the images we’d seen, my husband, my kids and I went down to the beach to try to clear our heads.  There, stretching as far as the eye could see in either direction up the Southern California coastline, were hundreds of altar-like memorial structures crafted from enormous bamboo fronds that had mysteriously washed up in tangled piles on the beach.   It was late in the day; there was no sign of the person or persons who had constructed the remembrances, but the message was clear:

We will remember. You are not alone.

We added our own bamboo memorial to the collection on the beach; the kids made little stone messages around the spires.  Days later, my husband traveled down the coast by train, and came home that night to excitedly report that the bamboo memorials stretched for miles and miles down the coastline.  It felt like hope.

Maybe time is circular; it’s been years since I looked at the pictures of that day, but the emotion and sentiments evoked by those simple structures many years ago, on a beach that is now many miles away, remain as pure and potent as they were then.  And the message is the same:

We will remember.  You are not alone.

Posted in Danica Waters and earthquake and Japan and musings and south carlsbad state beach and thailand and tsunami by danica on March 13th, 2011 at 3:33 AM.

1 comment

One Reply

  1. Beautiful and touching. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply