The following letter appeared in Ode Magazine a week or so ago. It was written by a woman who has lived in Sendai, Japan, for the past 22 years. Her name is Anne Thomas (you can read a bit more about her at scribbler.ca). When the earthquake struck at 2:46 in the afternoon, Anne was outside, pinning up her laundry. In this beautiful personal letter written to her family and friends, Anne sends a message of hope and what can happen when people come together to help each other.
She titled the subject line of this message “Blessings.”
Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,
First I want to thank you so very much
for your concern for me. I am very touched.
I also wish to apologize for a generic message
to you all. But it seems the best way
at the moment to get my message to you.
Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal.
But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends
who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even
more worthy of that name, I am now staying
at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water,
food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up
in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories.
It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.
During the day we help each other clean up
the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars,
looking at news on their navigation screens,
or line up to get drinking water when
a source is open. If someone has water running
in their home, they put out a sign so people
can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.
Utterly amazingly where I am there has been
no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave
their front door open, as it is safer when an
earthquake strikes. People keep saying,
“Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days
when everyone helped one another.”
Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck
about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant
and helicopters pass overhead often.
We got water for a few hours in our homes
last night, and now it is for half a day.
Electricity came on this afternoon.
Gas has not yet come on.
But all of this is by area. Some people
have these things, others do not.
No one has washed for several days.
We feel grubby, but there are so much
more important concerns than that
for us now. I love this peeling away of
non-essentials. Living fully on the level
of instinct, of intuition, of caring,
of what is needed for survival,
not just of me, but of the entire group.
There are strange parallel universes
happening. Houses a mess in some places,
yet then a house with futons or
laundry out drying in the sun.
People lining up for water and food,
and yet a few people out walking their dogs.
All happening at the same time.
Other unexpected touches of beauty are first,
the silence at night. No cars. No one out
on the streets. And the heavens at night
are scattered with stars. I usually can see
about two, but now the whole sky is filled.
The mountains of Sendai are solid and
with the crisp air we can see them
silhouetted against the sky magnificently.
And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful.
I come back to my shack to check on it each day,
now to send this e-mail since the electricity
is on, and I find food and water left in my
entrance way. I have no idea from whom,
but it is there.
Old men in green hats go from door to door
checking to see if everyone is OK.
People talk to complete strangers asking
if they need help. I see no signs of fear.
Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.
They tell us we can expect aftershocks,
and even other major quakes for another
month or more. And we are getting constant
tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling.
I am blessed in that I live in a part
of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit
more solid than other parts. So, so far
this area is better off than others.
Last night my friend’s husband came in
from the country, bringing food and water.
Somehow at this time I realize from
direct experience that there is indeed
an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step
that is occurring all over the world
right at this moment.
And somehow as I experience the events
happening now in Japan, I can feel
my heart opening very wide.
My brother asked me if I felt so small
because of all that is happening.
I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of
something happening that is much larger
This wave of birthing (worldwide)
is hard, and yet magnificent.
Thank you again for your care and Love of me,
With Love in return, to you all.
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That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing this letter and allowing a glimpse into a different viewpoint of the earthquake surviviors there.