Oh, my. The numbness recedes and returns in irregular rhythms. Not like the predictable tides I grew up with on the coast, but like one’s forgetting of grief in a merciful after-tragedy sleep who then awakens to a moment of normalcy, to sunlight on the wall and the cat lying, as always, at the foot of the bed. Then, the pounding of rain in the heart screams memory. Tonight, as I willingly do what I seldom do (watch the news), the rising rhythm of disbelief, distress, and grief loudly punctuates the numbness of the past four and a half days.
Japan. . . A country ripped apart by grief yet held together by Itchi* (“One Body; Oneness”). Bound by Itchi; bound, too, by manners, duty, and the ever present Bow to What Is. Devastation. Radiation. Again. (Is anyone but me thinking of Hiroshima?)
As insufficient as words on a page are at a time of such incomprehensible tragedy, I still feel I must write something down. Tonight I’m living in the ridiculous luxury of searching for a March Madness online stream of roundball while tens of thousands are standing in lines for hours on end, inching their weary way closer to the grocer for their alloted ten items. Babies in arms grown numb by the weight/wait, toddlers clinging to legs. On my TV screen it seems to be quiet in the lines. “We’re a patient people,” one woman says. “There is no need for fighting; we are all in the same situation.” Some quietly cry (their individual, but public meltdown) as they answer reporters’ questions about missing family members. Others, those with a car to sit in, wait up to twelve hours for a few gallons of gasoline. I wonder where they will go, these ones with cars.
And 一致 (Itchi) holds it all: the missing, the dead, the living, the dying, the crying, the hoping; the ocean, the earth, the potassium iodide; and the now radiating bodies of nuclear workers honoring a duty to country, stranger, friend. And to family some still have no news of.
One Body. Itchi. Japan.
* Pronounced “eechee”
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