14 March 2011


By Andy Weddington
Monday, 14 March 2011

"We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us." Albert Einstein

Yesterday a friend sent along a link to photographs capturing a bit of the aftermath of the quake that struck Japan a few days ago. But the photographs had an unusual twist. By running the mouse over each it was possible to roll them back, like peeling back a screen, and compare the same vantage point pre and post quake.

The images dumbfounding.

The destruction of the 9/11 attacks came to mind. Yet these photographs different--the destruction so much more vast. Incredibly more vast.

For perspective as to the enormous energy unleashed by earth, the atomic bombs the United States dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 (06 and 09 August respectively) were mere pin pricks in comparison. Scientific estimates are the earth's heaving and shaking delivered a yield the equivalent of more than 238 megatons of TNT. By comparison, "Little Boy"--dropped on Hiroshima, was estimated at 13-18 kilotons. And "Fat Man" about 21 kilotons.

We may have harnessed some of nature's energy turning it into destructive power but nature is exponentially more powerful and more destructive.

Make no mistake, our atomic bombs made for vast devastation and killed hundreds of thousands. The impact(s) lingered for years, for decades. But what was left in their wake hardly compares to the incredible devastation of the quake. Facing overwhelming ruin, a shocked, confused, and still dazed populace must be wondering where and how to start with recovery.

And then, adding more injury (forget insult) to injury, the tsunami. Then aftershocks. And threat of more tsunamis. And still more aftershocks to come for weeks, possibly months. And the possibility of tsunamis, too.

The first thought that struck, surely the death toll is going to stretch into the hundreds of thousands. How could it not? There were reports of entire villages and passenger trains wiped away--without trace. Unbelievable!

And then the thought struck that extent of destruction is a terrorist's dream. Some plotting this moment. Piss on them.

Thank goodness, at least for the time being, only Mother Nature packs such a punch. She is not cruel. She just is.

And so our planet's matriarch, yet again, reminded us--mere residents for little more than 250,000 years on this 4.55 billion year-old rock helplessly hurtling through space--that it is she who's in charge; not us. We're only along for the ride, and for how much longer anyone's guess. Unfortunately, we often times get in her way while she goes about her important work--executing a perfect blueprint we have barely begun to understand, and never will.

So in the great big gigantic scheme of things, despite the massive superficial destruction, extensive loss of life and counting, and unimaginable human suffering and heartbreak, there's an odd, quite peculiar sense of beauty in it all that will never be seen by those struggling amidst the chaos. The chaos so close the "blindness" understandable. Of course.

And for us far, far away the odd, peculiar beauty likewise difficult to comprehend, much less see, and something we consciously refrain from even thinking about, much less saying, at the expense of appearing cold and insensitive. But that is not the case, for we and many others around the globe, equally susceptible to like devastation at Mother Nature's seeming whim, are reaching out with both hands--to comfort...to help.

There's hardly a greater gesture of compassion than an outstretched arm between mankind during life and death times. Prayer is fine. But it takes effort and sacrifice to help. And how ironic our nation's open arms extend to a country, once a detested enemy, we subjected to great devastation.

One day tides may turn--without warning. And then we the "blind" will be grasping for outstretched arms. Whom will help--the land always helping others?

Some ask why? But whom are we to question Mother Nature? She, in the minds of many, merely another of the Creator's--whose master plan is likewise mysterious never to be understood--servants.

And so life goes on.

All the while accepting that Mother Nature, an unknowing and indifferent fickle gal, can embrace and heal one moment and the next destroy beyond belief.

In the end we have no choice but to carry on doing the best we can, and help one another along the uncertain way.

For Mother Nature's work--all of it a marvel, as it has for billions of years, goes on--no matter what.

Post Script

"Japan-style earthquake and tsumani (sic) unlikely to hit Southern California, experts say"

That is the Los Angeles Times online headline posted today--about 1:30 pm (PST). Yes, the typo for tsunami I left as it appeared in the headline. Shall we assume it was an innocent oversight and not intended to have any subliminal meaning?

Our home is not all that far from a major fault line; the San Andreas. We've felt our share of Mother Nature's work--shakers--some bigger than others. They hit without warning. And they are attention-getting. The LA Times headline is of little comfort when it comes to quakes. The scientists--the "experts"--surely have not decoded Mother Nature's blueprint nor have they a two-way line to her boss. Living more than 150+ miles from the Pacific Ocean, and at nearly 4,000 feet elevation, if a tsunami does reach us then that's likely a good indicator the scientists were wrong. Oops.

Author's Endnote

A link to the stunning photographs mentioned in the opening paragraph. http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/japan-quake-2011/beforeafter.htm

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Looking at the devastation, one is left to wonder "where do we Start? with this job?" As a retired "first responder" myself, I have been there-done that, but my job was so much easier, so much less a physical and emotional nightmare than the Japanese are facing.

Rebuilding post 9-11 has taken (so far) nearly 10 years, but it is only one relatively small area in only one city in one state. Imagine if the entire country was laid waste as in Japan?

This illustrates the danger of jihadism to our beloved America. Imagine if only 3 "suitcase" type bombs were smuggled into the US via the wide open southern border as some experts postulate is taking place, with the myopic attention of the current administration. There is already evidence that this is taking place. Could a Japanese style holocaust happen here? Do we really want to wait until that day before we act?