edit 10/2/09: what a catastrophe. i've just seen the toll could possibly reach 300 people.
i'm sorry to my daughter who i snapped at this morning and called her "bratty" saying angrily that i am not her slave, her servant, to do her bidding at the precise moment she demands it.
i'm sorry that i then told her it's my job to point this out to her, and not let her go out into the world with this attitude, because then she will think it's ok to treat others like that.
i'm sorry that there's no one to hold me accountable for my badnesses. i know i have to do that myself.
i'm sorry to the same daughter, for my tears in the car while listening to the radio, driving her to school. i'm sorry to have upset her with my sadness, and sorry to have seen her red eyes as she got out of the car. i'm glad i kissed her, told her i loved her and to enjoy art.
i'm sorry for all the people who lost their lives, or those of family members, friends, neighbours, community people. i'm sorry for those people who lost their dogs and cats and other animals and homes and land.
i'm sorry for the people who have nowhere to go, and nothing left.
i cry at the idea of the old people, the terrified children and animals. parents trying to keep their children safe, the man who lost his wife and child. the panic, the fear, and the sound of it. people say it sounds like a train, that there's a roaring. it must be so terrifying.
i was in a big earthquake in 1999, and beforehand, if you'd asked me whether an earthquake makes a noise, i would have said no.
but it does. it screams, and moans and roars as well. it's the sound of buildings and roads protesting, being unsettled in a most violent way. it's an unearthly sound, a devil sound, and it was the sound that was even scarier than the sensation of being up in the air on the 4th level of an old building, and having everything shake around you. the other misconception i'd had was that an earthquake would shake you side to side a bit, and that it would be like swaying, but it doesn't. a big one shakes you on every plane imaginable. up and down, side to side, back and forwards. roughly and viciously. so you have absolutely no sense of stability or grounding. you are completely without your normal referencing of balance and senses. i imagine a big fire is similar in that it is so foreign to you, so strange in its behaviour, like a live being, that it would scare the shit out of you. and hurt you with its heat, and sting your eyes and melt your skin and burn your throat - a complete assault.
after the tragedy will come the hard words, you'd better believe it. like all tragedies, there is a cycle of behaviour in reaction. like with grief, there is shock, sadness come first. then will come denial. then anger, and the blaming mentality. just watch the letters in the paper for the voices that start about any number of issues, using this awful happening as proof that certain things are being neglected. i don't know, it might be climate change, it might be bushfire prevention and readiness. it might even be that white man shouldn't have colonised this wild, savage place.
but for the people who lived through it, or died, i feel so sorry. it would have been a hell on earth. and here we were, sitting in our place, watching episodes of friends, laughing and trying to keep cool.
life truly is a bitch.