Thursday, May 15, 2008

sichuan, here

life is so fragile, and the ground underneath our feet, as solid as it might feel, is holding its own tensions, carrying our world while moving with the powers to destroy it.

what a painful week. the pictures of Sichuan, when i first saw them, i could hardly connect them to reality. something terrible had happened on the other side of the world, in a region i couldn't even place. the impact of the news reached me later, deep in the night, in the safety of my bed, in a dream.

i am inside a house, in a living room, one that feels like a mix of my parent's home, and the home i live in now. there are wooden floors, a woven carpet, and a table with flowers on it, surrounded by chairs. all is peaceful – and then everything starts to shake. i am terrified, frozen in shock.
when the shaking ends, i don’t know what to do – and finally make myself step forwards, towards the window. outside is a piece of green land, and on it, a collapsed hut. the wall and roof lay scattered on the ground. has someone been inside? i can't tell.

that’s when i woke, still shaking and disoriented, thinking there was a quake here, while i slept. i got up and then finally realized that it wasn't even 5. so i went to bed again, and could sleep a bit, but the dream remained with me, under my skin, all day.

i tried to avoid getting back to the terrible pictures of people buried under buildings, schools collapsing. and then Burma, and the taifun. and the US, with all those tornados. what a time of dreadful disasters.

that was Tuesday. and then yesterday, there was this oddity that the electricity was turned off for 3 hours, for some major maintenance in this part of the city. they sent a letter last week, announcing it, and it went off and then on again 3 hours later, just like predicted. still it felt strange – it made me realize how many things are connected to electricity: the lights, the computer, the tv, the oven, the water heater, the washing machine.. so many elements of the day.

later, when the electricity was back, i browsed literary blogs, and came across a link to a blog from china. it’s from the magazine Time, with several posters, some from Sechuan region. here the link:

one of the posts – "In the disaster zone"- really touched me. i still try to avoid reading much about the quake, after i had this terrible dream Monday night, but this blog has another, more personal approach.

typing this out now, and looking at the dream again, makes me think that what i am really trying to avoid is not the news and the pictures, but the deeper truth they carry: that our life can collapse in a moment. just like that.

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