I left Brisbane the day the flooding began in earnest. Cyclone Yasi hit my hometown a few weeks before I was due to go back, and affected my family. I was in Christchurch, disheartened by the earthquake damage, two weeks before the second quake.
It is the latter that has shocked me the most, though, and it is the latter disaster that has been the worst especially in terms of loss of life. It is a very strange feeling to recognise streets and half-destroyed buildings on the news, from a place where I spent less than twenty-four hours. It's even worse for those who actually live there, I'm sure.
Let me be clear that I am not saying that these incidents are worse than any of the hundred other natural disasters that have happened lately to places I've never been; rather, that my personal connection merely makes it a little easier for me to understand the magnitude of the problems as well as how lucky I have been to escape them so far. It's one thing to watch images of disaster unfold in front of you, but quite another to watch and know that you could have been there, but for the grace of God.
The obvious lesson to take here is the utter fragility of life. We are never safe. On any day, at any moment, the ground could shake, the heavens open, the river rise, or the wind blow everything away. Who knows how much time any of us has left?
In that spirit, let me say this: I love you, my LiveJournal friends and readers.