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Here Comes Treble: What If?

Isabel Bradley grapples to understand the depths of suffering and change brought about in Japan by earthquake and tsunami.

The dark streets were quiet, shadowed by interlinking branches overhead, street-lights peeking through closely clustered leaves. I was driving home after an orchestral rehearsal, cocooned in my car. Traffic lights ahead changed from green to orange to red, and then back to green. An occasional pair of headlights whispered towards me or turned away.

And I wondered: “What if, suddenly, the world’s supply of petrol ran dry in one instant. Imagine…”

A Whole New World

Silence stretches,
hot and sad
Along lonely streets.
No growl of engines,
No whisper of tyres on tarmac.
The air is clear and fresh,
not even a ghost of gaseous emissions.
And people walk and talk,
Voices hushed in the utter silence
Of a world without engines.

Imagine… Our world is so entangled in modern technology, travelling distances our ancestors would never have dreamed of. We’d all have to drastically change our way of living. What if I couldn’t travel twenty kilometres to orchestra rehearsals? The orchestra would die if none of us could gather weekly. Where would I find a pianist to accompany me within walking distance of home. I’d have to find work within walking distance, too. No gym – it takes ten minutes to get there by car, way out of my walking range. Of course, with all the walking I’d need to do, the necessity for doing gym would fall away. What if, indeed!

On Friday, in less than an hour, Japan was devastated by both earthquake and tsunami and life in those parts did change forever. People died in their hundreds, were missing in many thousands, swept away with homes, vehicles, countryside.

Imagine the horror, of searching for and burying loved-ones eradicated by heaving earth, or furious waves of water, or of never finding them, never knowing whether they survived or not. The horror of being thrust forcibly from the luxuries of ‘civilization’ as many of us know it, to spending all one’s energy, each day, seeking water, food, warmth and protection from the elements, from one moment to the next going from independence to leaning heavily on help from strangers.

Disasters of monumental dimension, whether war, earthquake, fire, hurricane or tsunami, destroy life and quality of life daily in some corner of the world. Yet it is only when such devastation is so huge that it takes away the world’s collective breath that we, as individuals untouched by the catastrophe, can perhaps glimpse the depth of suffering and change that those affected must overcome.

To all those touched by disaster – may you find the inner strength to survive, to rebuild, and to triumph once again.

Until next time…. ‘here comes Treble!’

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12 March 2011 by Isabel Bradley


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