The Awesome Power of Nature

I was sitting at my desk here (in Sri Lanka), not far from the Parliament building, around two-ish.  There was a strange stillness – enough to make me stop.  It felt as though the keyboard was pulsing a little – no movement, just as though the whir of the fan had intensified, and had entered the keyboard so that the rhythm moved up to my fingertips.  Stranger (if you knew how heavy I am), the same disembodied sensation was moving up from my toes and buffering the seat of my chair.

I looked for a rational explanation, but could find none.  Until a little while later a friend called, to say there’d been a huge earthquake in Indonesia.

Yes, the shock waves could be felt all the way across the Indian Ocean.

Now, that’s the power of nature. The awesome power of nature.

The nation has been on full alert all afternoon – the terror of the Boxing Day Tsunami will take a generation or so to fade.

On the eve of the country’s most important holiday season it is a special gift that we have escaped – at 6.30 pm local time, the Tsunami Alert was lifted.

I think the New Year celebrations will be particularly fervent this year.

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15 thoughts on “The Awesome Power of Nature

  1. I saw this on the lunchtime news and immediately thought of you and of our friends further West, and worried, which never changes anything. The 2004 tsunami did quite a lot of damage even as far over as Seychelles.

  2. Pingback: When The Earth Moves | Fish & Bicycles

    • Oh yes! The fear seemed to be so immediate and fresh here, like it had been Boxing Day 2011 not seven years ago. It seems to be no exaggeration to say that the waves devastated more than homes and lives, it devastated the psyche of the nation. But I was proud of the way the civil defense systems swung into action straight away, and stayed on alert till the danger was properly evaluated. One day 2004 will save lives, I’m just glad we weren’t tested this time.

  3. I felt the tremors for a good 10 seconds! A tray full of glass tumblers started rattling so hard, I freaked out! Just grabbed my keys and my mobile phone and rushed out. And came close to truly understanding the kind of fear people must experience during such crisis. We never really know what it is like, till we stare it in the face!

    • No, somehow we’re not programmed to accept fear second hand – a good thing, I guess, in early human evolution. On the other hand, you and I – thousands of miles away from the epicentre, felt enough fear to understand the terror of those caught in the destructive zones, closer to its epicentre. Just imagine how terrifying it must have been for the people in Indonesia, or in my case, those who lived to tell us about the tsunami? It’s 3 in the morning, I think I’ve said enough muddling things. But of course, if we felt it here, you will have too.

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