Giant Waves and Broken Bones

By Daniel de la Calle

    I was ready to put up this morning a new blog post with Ocean Acidification information found on the internet when I turned the radio on, my morning coffee in hand, and was swept by the news of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami off the Pacific coast of Japan.  It felt disrespectful to ignore the news and add that text on the A Sea Change site, even more when the images I began watching on the BBC website so vehemently spoke of the immense force of nature and our fragility.  That unstoppable slow brown wave that pushed things small and large and rearranged all we thought to be in place, from boats to house roofs, from previously neatly parked cars transformed into erratic floaters to trees that from helicopter cameras resembled abandoned green mops in a giant dirty bucket.  We think we are in control, marvel at our strength, but a little burp in the seabed’s crust, a small hotspot hiccup exposes our fragility, shows who is in command, what we depend upon.

    A couple hundred miles away the images from Tokyo skyscrapers were shockingly different, or so they seemed to me. You might have seen office spaces rocking, ready to crack, faces of panic, falling folders and desk lamps, but all I saw were bodies and desks that gently trembled with no relation to the dramatic land movement taking place underneath their feet.  I recalled the Indonesia tsunami, the Chile earthquake and marveled at what difference acknowledgment and preparation does.  Japan knows where it is sitting, what is coming, and with money and specific measures has prepared for it. Cataclysms are still going to cause casualties and destruction, but in a minimal scale to that same event taking place in an unprepared region.

    The extrapolation of all of the above to the specific subject of this blog delivers a coarse comparison that includes the same actors in different roles, a blatantly obvious analogy that is best left without extra words.  When are we finally going to start taking measures, cut the poisoning faucet and prepare for the changes already happening?  Who do we really think is in control?  What do we depend upon for survival?  What is our part in nature, what are we entitled to?  Everywhere else human beings confront problems, look for solutions, plan ahead.  Not here.

    In the past ten days two of our A Sea Change people also felt for a millisecond that the ground had disappeared from beneath them to be violently reunited with it.  First Dick Feely suffered an accident on an airplane going through turbulent weather.  He broke his leg in two places and tore tendons on his foot (!!).  Four days ago Sven Huseby, our grandfather protagonist and Niijii Films producer broke his arm in a heroic sporting effort to get to a tennis ball that had over passed him close to the net during a doubles match.  Now poor Sven needs to learn to write, eat and whatnot with his left hand and Dick, well, that sounds quite worse and dramatic, poor man.  I wish them both a speedy recovery and lots of patience with casts and crutches.
    How can I wrap up this erratic text?  Well, let me see if this video of a genius’s mind at work can put together Hokusai, order and roughness and entertain our convalescing friends for a few minutes. Watch it to the end and you will be rewarded with a beautiful and poetic film that is simply perfect for today.  What coincidence that I would stumble upon it this very day.  Maybe not.

Ok, ok, and by Sven’s request, here is Good Vibrations in a separate Youtube video:

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