I keep reading the stories, watching the videos, and poring over the photographs, especially the satellite images that show before-and-after views of areas devastated by the tsunami.
But I still can't wrap my mind around so much death, destruction, and loss. It's impossible to imagine how vast the ruined areas are, or how many people are homeless, injured, or dead. I read every ominous update about nuclear radiation threat and try to think about what that could mean. It's overwhelming. So I distract myself with reading old New Yorkers or hanging out with the cats. But I'm always feeling the weight of everything we take for granted daily — more than usual. Because, you know, we take so much for granted. Even when we remember to be grateful for our homes, health, peace, friends, family, pets, and all the good things in our lives, we still take certain basics for granted: the ground our city is built upon. That the ocean will stay where the ocean belongs.
It's surreal to look away from Japan to see life unfolding as usual in Boston: a sunny day, parents pushing strollers, people on lunch break, dog walkers, students between classes. Just as everybody went about their business in Japan until their world washed away on Friday.
I've known for a long time that a substantial earthquake would be devastating here. Back Bay is built on "pudding," according to geologists, and the area would be shaken back to what it once was, a sea of muck. I can't comprehend all the ramifications of that, either, and I suppose I'm better off.
According to the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, we should donate to the Red Cross. Done. And I'll try harder to appreciate the solid earth beneath my feet and all the other, countless, wonders that can vanish in a minute.