Friday, February 25, 2011

Thinking of you Christchurch

Another big earthquake struck the Christchurch area on Tuesday lunchtime. Five and a half hours drive from where I live. A place our family knows well, reduced to ruins and so many people missing or already confirmed dead. It feels surreal. We were there on holiday last month and felt many aftershocks, desperately hoping none of them would be severe. Thankfully, they were all minor. But on Tuesday the earthquake was a magnitude 6.3, very shallow and only 10 kms away from the central city. Friday lunchtime now and the number of bodies in the temporary mortuary has risen to 113, with many many more still hidden in the rubble as the search for survivors continues to be the focus. Much of Christchurch has been reduced to rubble, and Lyttelton and Sumner have sustained massive damage. Search and Rescue teams and other help has been pouring in from around the world. Thank you to one and all.

The latest Canterbury earthquake has been declared a National State of Emergency. Pretty accurate, as with New Zealand being such a small country it seems everyone knows someone who is affected directly. It's a national tragedy and we are all going through it, whether or not we have loved ones down there. So much worse for those that do, obviously. It's heart breaking, gut-wrenching stuff to watch the news footage. We are all affected in one way or another, bursting into tears just thinking about it. My 10 year old son started crying whilst watching the news footage on Wednesday. Children everywhere distressed, those who were in the earthquake are terrified. It makes me more appreciative of what I have, yet so much more aware of the fragility with which we all cling onto life and brings home the knowledge that especially living where we do, all this could be taken away at any moment. Driving home on Wednesday afternoon, as a break from the non-stop earthquake news on National Radio, they played "Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (Symphony no. 3, op. 36). Two of the movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child and one from the perspective of a child who has become separated from a parent. Very poignant. So many people in that exact situation in Canterbury. Tears welled up. . . not for the first time that day.

It's been a very hard few days and will continue to be so for a long time yet. Up here out of the quake zone, it feels like we're only going through the motions, but we are trying to keep up usual daily routines. Last night I went to Knit Night, even though I didn't really feel like it. A ravelry friend from Christchurch joined us and told us how the earthquake hit her home and family. Terrifying stuff.  As soon as they could, she and her family escaped to the north, to close family and rather more safety. Refugees from Christchurch. "We're going on a Quake Break" they told the children. No warning of the quake this time, she said. The September earthquake was preceded by a deep, low rumble, then it hit. Not this time. Usual daily life and then BAM! Lives turned upside down in moments. Unbelievable tragedy unfolding instantly from nowhere. 

It was good to talk at Knit Night. And then talk some more. Soothing to knit too, even if I can only concentrate on i-cord at the moment! Knit graffiti seems somewhat frothy and inconsequential right now. But yet, when I looked at the Stitch London website, at the bottom of the page I saw the strapline "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn" based on the World War II slogan "Keep calm and carry on" found on posters all over the UK in wartime. It resonated. "Yes!" I thought! If the survivors of the Blitz in London could "Keep Calm and Carry On" then I could certainly "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn!" So with renewed vigour I continued knitting i-cord, aiming to turn it into another piece of yarnification one day soon.

In the meantime, kia kaha (be strong) and arohanui (lots of love) to the people of Christchurch and surrounding area, to those who have loved ones in that area and everyone else affected by this disaster. 

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