Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday's Words for March 16, 2011

How do we even mentally process the destruction that took place in Japan last week? How can we possibly understand it?

Few words came to mind as I watched image after image flash past. A wall of water moving inexorably over fields, carrying with it debris so concentrated and intense that there’s almost no way to work your way through it. Towns reduced to piles of rubble so all-encompassing, you wonder how anyone could have survived.

Rescuers stymied because they cannot reach those who are in need, and blanketing all, an eerie stillness. It’s the stillness of death, and although officials are being cautious in numbers, we know the final count of the dead and the missing will be more horrendous than we can really imagine.

Then came yet another layer of fear and peril as officials and experts tried to deal with the failure of nuclear power plants, this danger with the potential of widespread fall-out that could, theoretically, affect the entire world. For this nation, particularly, that prospect must truly be hell on earth.

We pray, we send aid, we watch—and maybe we begin to perceive, in a uniquely personal way, the frailty of our species, and the world we’ve built for ourselves.

We live our lives every day, going through the motions and minutia as if this world we’ve fashioned will always be here. And although we understand there are such things as catastrophic natural disasters, we never really think these things could ever actually happen to us.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? We never really think it can happen in a modern, civilized, well-governed, well-organized country. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We’ve seen devastation in places where the infrastructure is weak or non-existent, where we know the government such as it is, is corrupt, and there’s always been that tiny voice that said, “well, if they just had proper safeguards in place, or if they just had a democratic, well organized government in place to take care of their people... Or, if they were the sort of government that cared about their people...” And now we see the truth, because Japan did meet all of the above criteria, and Mother Nature, bitch that she can be, wreaked havoc anyway.

How do you deal with that level of destruction? How can anyone deal with it?
The same thing could easily happen to us. Those images we’ve been seeing on the television, or on the computer, could easily be images of our towns, our cities, and our countries. There are geologic fault lines on both coasts of North America, and right down the freaking middle of the continent, too, and that’s not even including the huge caldera in Yellowstone Park. So yes, those images we’ve been seeing could very well be images of ourselves.

I searched and found the following, at this site:
The American Red Cross is accepting monetary donations online, by mail and even by phone.

"The local Red Crosses across the nation start trying to generate interest in people helping on a larger scale and making donations so we can provide the funding that’s needed," said Kevin Bavers, Executive Director for the Northwest Michigan Red Cross.

People can donate online at or they can write a check to their local Red Cross chapter.

To make things even easier, people can text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to relief efforts; the charge is automatically added to your phone bill.

If you can do so, please donate. Next time, it may very well be us who are in need of such help. And really, after all is said and done, aren’t we all just one planet, and one people?


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