Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami Surge

I woke up to Tabitha's text this morning . . . u heard about tsunami, right? Yes in Japan. She texted back . . . here! they said on radio people evac your town. Is that why I've been dreaming about helicopters? There are at least five helicopters circling overheard even now.

My mom called to say my town was on the news. I turned on the TV and flipped through channels until I found footage of the harbor about a mile from my apartment. Apparently, there was a tsunami surge and evacuation was optional. I decided to go check it out with the other idiots.

I think some of the locals misinterpreted this sign.

It was a scene.

The waves weren't extremely large but they moved strangely. Just before crashing, it looked as if they were being unzipped to release the frothy whitewater. You could also see vertical stripes of strong undertows.

I ran into a friend, and we stood and watched the surge of water running into the harbor. A boat was overturned. A seal whipped by in the current. There was some debris and the murky water rose considerably. The docks started to groan and the people who were trying to secure the boats ran.

But it had nothing to do with the terror in Japan.

When I was a kid, I had a dream that I was walking on the beach at night with my aunt and we died in a tsunami. I can still vividly remember the moment just before the wave hit. I've been afraid of dying that way ever since.

I used to read everything I could find about tsunamis. In January 1700, a 9.0 earthquake shook what is now Northern California up to British Columbia. A tsunami from that quake destroyed villages in Japan. Before that time, there's evidence of an ancient monster wave so large that it hit the redwoods in the mountains behind my town. Then there was the story I will never forget from the 2006 Java tsunami involving a mother who was forced to choose which of her children to hold onto when they were swept up.

I was glued to the news about the Japan earthquake last night. During the tsunami footage on CNN, they had on their banner something about the yen taking a dive in value 20 minutes after the earthquake struck. I found the instant nature of that info disturbing in its callousness. Everything is so overwhelmingly connected these days.

And not just socially and economically but geologically. If you live on the Pacific Rim, there is cause for concern. Earthquakes happen in clusters. Not just aftershocks either. As I was writing this, an announcement was made that another earthquake had just occurred in Japan but probably at a different epicenter.

I think about the children and the adults responsible for children who have endured this disaster. Blessings to those who have feared for their lives and to those who have tried to protect others. Blessings to those who have been injured and to those who have died. It's not much, but you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. I did.

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