Today I feel less scared about the earthquakes and nuclear meltdown happening in Fukushima. Though I am of course wary of radiation. I am less worried about the effects on Tokyo though and the hellish sense of foreboding we have lived under for the last week. Because today I went to places that have real problems, ones the media would hype if they needed to of course, but I have seen today things that put all our fears in perspective;, things that have shown me the supreme power of nature and also the no less worthy strength of the human spirit. No hype is needed in Iwate where hell exists unshielded and visceral. And yet even as I wipe the mud from my shoes, for the first time in a week I am not scared, I am not looking for a way out and I am not worrying about gossip.
There are problems in the world, this part of the world especially. The ground ignores us and we do not respect it anyways. Japan‘s days are numbered that is for sure, but that number is in the billions if you ask me and I need not worry too much. I have love and memories. I have almost all I need which the people of Otsuchi, Kamaishi, Kamiarakawa, Ofunato and Rikuzentakata in Iwate where I went today do not. They used to have things but the tsunami of March 11th took it all away. ALL
I am drained from work and what I saw today, I will write more when I have time to think my thoughts more clearly. But I am no longer scared, that is the over-riding result of today and I just want to share it. Today I saw people who had lost everything smile and welcome us, even as we intruded on their lives with our questions and lenses; I saw people pick their way through wreckage that would have defeated me with it melancholy and just get on with the job of living anew.
For example I met an 80 year old woman today, who survived Hiroshima, who smiled a “hello” to us as she walked through the rubble of Kamaishi; and a man who had lost his wife and mother searching his car, that rested at 45 degrees against the remains of a house, for insurance documents and other personal effects then shutting the door carefully as he left as though it was still parked on the road outside his now non-existent house. It was a day of snow and mud, of boats in rice fields and houses in the sea. It was a day of stoicism and carnage and yet it was also a day that I am proud to have lived among such people that do not blame, do not hate, do not give up and do not stop being all that is best in this damaged world of ours.
More pics when the client has used them and I am more free. Until then…