SLIDER

My City of Ruins

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


These are the worst of times . . . and the worst of times.

The other night - a beautiful night, I stood out in our garden and looked towards the city. Towards the Port Hills. There was a low cloud of white hanging over the city, and it glowed a soft orangey/red. It wasn't the normal glow of lights we usually see at night. It was an ominous, thick light - of dimmed lights and linguring smoke.

My city of ruins. The city of my great, great-grandparents. Those courageous people who walked over the Bridle Path with all their worldly goods, their faith, their strength, their fortitude, their hopes of a better future for their descendants.
Martha, Henry, Sarah-Anne, Robert.

There's something rather special about living in the same place where your forefather's settled as pioneers. It's a connection with the land, a sense of belonging in the history of the place, the pride in the buildings they built, the churches they worshipped in, the roads they travelled down. The cemetaries where their bones are buried.

We feel that connection right now as our city suffers. I can't watch the news for very long now. The stories are too heart-breaking, too sad. My husband is off work. His building has been red-stickered ( too dangerous to enter). We're not sure if that's because of the high-rise next to it being rather precarious and has the potential to fall over, or if there is structural damage. Whatever the reason, his work will be looking for alternative office space, I am sure. We grieve and pray for one his colleagues who lost her fiancee in the CTV building.

We are being battered by extraordinary winds today - any extreme weather now has the potential to set your heart racing, and the lines on our foreheads to wrinkle. I am too scared to go shopping. Online shopping has become my best friend. Our house has little damage - just superficial cracks in the plaster outside, so I just want to stay home and not leave the area.

We did do some baking for the amazing people organizing the Rangiora Earthquake Express. I felt it was a good exercise for the children, and they enjoyed taking it down to the racecourse and seeing the helicopters. I wonder who ate our pies and bread that night? The NZ Gardener free labels came in very handy for quick labelling of the food.
Robin took the photos - I think the camera must have accidentally got knocked to another setting, so the light is a bit bright.





It's hard to think of anything else right now, except the earthquake. I keep wondering about the girl I sat next to on the plane when we flew up to Auckland. She was so nervous about flying, twisting some paper around and around in her fingers for the entire flight. I was nervous too (I am not a good flyer), and it helped me to talk to her and distract her and talk of funny things. I don't know what her name is. All I know is that she worked in the Glassons store in Cashel Mall - the place where most of the buildings collapsed and alot of people were killed. I hope she is ok. Another friend wonders about a little Japanese man who owned a restaurant in Chancery Lane. She used to say hello to him everyday. Is he ok?

Events like this change you. I think I said that after the last earthquake. But they do. Like it or not, our outlook on life has altered dramatically. Someone mentioned this on talkback radio yesterday too, and Robin and I were discussing together how this will impact on our children and their world view. I think that the children who survived these earthquakes, saw these earthquakes and the aftermath will grow up with a greater sense of what is important in this life. That worldy possessions and financial gain are as nothing compared to life and people you love and who love you.

That is the one positive thing that I think all Cantabrians will take from this trauma.

Now with these hands
I pray Lord
for the strength Lord
for the faith Lord
(My City of Ruins - Bruce Springsteen)

7 comments :

bettyl said...

I cannot begin to imagine what you are feeling. I just know that I wish I could do more from the north island besides pray.

It is heartwarming to see a container for donations at just about every place of business. They may just be change from the bottom of purses or the few coins in a pocket, but each coin says that we care.

Julze said...

I too cannot imagine how frightening it nust be for you all down there (((hugs)))

I am just speechless...I am praying, it's all I can do...

Lee-Anne said...

Hi Rachel,
Georgia and her Sunday school group made bacon and egg pies as well. You sound a bit like us, holding up at home, not going very far at all. Alf is doing some of our shopping in Darfield where he works.

Little Kiwi Chick said...

Oh Rachel it is just awful, isn't it. I arrived in NZ a couple of days ago and I can *feel* the devastation from way up here, there is such a sadness across the country. Thinking of you often and praying much for your city.

Cate said...

Thinking of you and the family mate. We have a number of friends who have been powerless and waterless and when I check their facebook status every morning it is the same: "another quake overnight."

So, so sad and must be really terrifying to live in.

Mrs M said...

So glad you are all ok and you have what you need.
Continuing to pray for you all down there.

Heather L. said...

We were talking about you all and the city after church on Sunday. We can't imagine what it would be like, but we know it isn't fun and it must be scary. Hopefully things continue to settle and nothing more comes your way.

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