Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Tsunamis, Earthquakes and Tragedies in March 2011

This past week I was finishing up an oil painting, Unchartered Waters. I was applying the final little shadows on a bent aquatic leaf and adding a bit of light to the arc where it leaned over, broken. Looking at it in different lights and working on the details.

I did not watch the news on TV.

I did not write on the computer.

On Friday I read about the marches in Madison, Wisconsin. I heard that Senator Walker had pushed the anti-union law through, against the obvious wishes of the people he was supposed to represent. And much like the accounts of Lao Tzu; I grew weary of the ignorance of men. And I shut off the computer. I did not know about the largest political rally the people in Madison, Wisconsin had that took place on Saturday. And I did not know about the tsunami that hit Japan.

And then, when I saw the first Crocus in bloom alongside the porch, a clarity came to me. And I started to think about the beauty of the way democracy is supposed to work. And the wisdom in it became apparent to me in a way I hadn't fully understood before. And I began to write. And it felt good to write again.
Because I never know when I write,
if this will be the last time
I will feel the words walking through my fingers
onto my keyboard.

And I was feeling truly grateful.
And I edited and added some beautiful music videos to the blog.
And then, it was late and I thought, I haven't checked my emails or facebook this weekend. So I gave a quick look to see my friends and say hello and goodnight.

And I saw one line that read Japan had a Tsunami. And I thought, oh, that's too bad. And I rubbed my eyes and turned out the light. My akita Coco was laying down toward the bottom of the bed. And her head was resting across my feet. And she looked over at me with her big akita smile on her face and I told her how much I loved her and closed my eyes to the world for awhile.

During the wee hours of the morning, while it was still dark in my cavern, undefined; Coco woke me up. She was asleep on the floor beside the bed. And while she was still asleep a sad, distant primal call left her, like a howl echoing through icy cold bare rock mountains. And I almost reached for her and then I thought, is that a sad sound or a call? We often call in that way to each other. Maybe she is dreaming and we are playing and howling together.

And then I thought, it's too early, and I put my head back down on the pillow and went back to sleep.

When I woke up my first thought was, I wonder how the people in Japan are? I need to check the weather channel and see if they are okay. And I turned on the TV, before my morning reading, while the water was still on the stove, about to boil. And I saw it there on the TV screen. Tsunamis and earthquakes. And I felt this tremendous sense of longing and loss for the people who were suffering from the tsunamis that had taken away several villages with it when it flooded the flat lands and fields of rice and boats docked there.

And I thought about the people who were cold and hungry and I felt this sigh in my heart that stayed there.
And I kept checking in online to see yet another live video of another catastrophe that Japan was living through. First it was severe earthquakes and then tsunami waves rolled over everything. There was no slowing it. The water just moved.
And one minute a village was there, and the next; it was gone.

And even though the sun came out today
And I heard the geese returning way up high in the clouds
When Coco and I walked quietly
Through the neighborhood on this beautiful early spring day
This sigh was stuck in my chest
And I kept thinking about Japan
And I appreciated the beauty of it
Her precarious position out there in the ocean
And her fragility and strength
And I thought, the world would be such a sad place
Without her

I often go to the library and check out movies there. Last week I checked out "Departures." It’s a Japanese film. I often check out foreign films, old movies and documentaries and music from the library. On the cover of, “Departures,” was the image of this man in a suit, playing the cello. Beautiful snowy mountains were in the distance, behind him. I could almost feel the cold wind gently blowing through the jacket of his suit and up through his hair as he played. And I thought, this looks like a good story. I glanced at the return dates for the movies I had checked out and put the ones I needed to return in my bag when I noticed that I hadn’t watched this one yet. I decided to leave it out in case I wanted to watch it later.

So tonight I played it. I had no idea what it was about. I hadn't read the cover.
Soon this lovely film enveloped me and for awhile I evaporated into the charm of its characters and the beauty of its story.
And still, without a voice; this sigh, was with me.

At the end of the movie there was a very touching expression of love and acceptance. And I thought about my Mom. And I remembered how much I had wanted her to love me. And how that day of understanding one another and feeling that love never came.

And I remembered how I had let go of every expectation and hope of the relationship I had always wanted to have with her and I just loved her. I loved her not out of a sense of duty, though I would have done, but more out of having made this life choice to love her.

I remembered when Mom was dying; my sister and I were by her side all night. She was leaving us. In many ways, I had come to terms with this a long time ago. And yet there was this pang in my heart.
And then I remembered when I had let that go too and loved her even more.
After Mom died and gently breathed her last breath, the room was so quiet. And there was a peace there. And all of the fighting with life my Mom had done, that energy was gone too. And I felt so grateful that my sister and I had this time together with Mom. She was not alone. And she was loved.
And I was so glad I had come to a place where I could love her without a second thought.
And then I thought, there are so many people in Japan who were feeling that sigh that would not go away today. They were looking for loved ones. And my heart ached for Japan.

And then Coco came over to me in her sweet way she put her nose in my hand to pet her. And I remembered how sad I was when Bear, my akita before Coco, died.

And I remembered how I used to wake up at two or three in the morning, when it was still dark outside.
And how, even with all of my understanding about the cycle of life and the peace I had long since made with all of it,
I sobbed and kept saying, "I want you back. I want you here. I just want you back."

And I thought, about the people in Japan. And that sigh is coming from them now. And it is making its way across the Pacific Ocean. And it was in the wind that lifted the geese so high earlier today. And it is in so many hearts of those here who have grieved, and who understand.

There are so many of us, all over the world,
Who are reaching out our invisible arms to you.
And we are embracing you, now, when it is so dark.
I wish I could bring all of you to my house.
And fix you something to eat.
And fix you some tea.
And tell you stories about when we used to have a farm.
And warm your feet.

And as I reflected on all of the tragedies, the Tsunamis

The Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Volcanic Eruptions

And The Two Nuclear Power Plant Explosions

And I thought about Japan and Russia.
And I sat back in my chair.
And my ribcage released the sigh that had been in my heart all day.
And while I know that many of you understand about the cycle of life, still many of your hearts are aching because you just want your loved ones back.

There have been long periods of time in my life, when I remembered only sadness and loss.
And I could not remember any laughter or happier times.
And I remembered wondering if life was always going to be this way.
And I couldn’t imagine going on.
And then I remembered when one day,
I let that go too.

And it was then that I decided that just because a loved one wasn't here with me anymore, that didn't mean my love for them ceased. I didn't have to get loved back from anyone to love them.
I was free to love.
And eventually, some how that sting of loss gave way to love.
And slowly I found my way back to life again.

And I thought, how horribly sad, the many tragedies the Japanese people are suffering.
And then my fingers felt the words and they tapped out these words on the keyboard...

We have not met
But I love you
From far away


  1. Beautiful. Perfect words Jenn, perfect.
    Natural disasters, death, tragedy, loss. These are all unfortunate occurrences in life....finding the inner strength and desire to get through all the BS and hurt, you have to find that within yourself and it can be done!

  2. Oh Danielle, that is so beautiful.