Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Monday, I had the wind knocked out of me. Literally. My daughter wanted to go ice skating for her 11th birthday. I was a figure skater at a girl, so skating always feels like coming home to me--the taste of the sharp, cold air, the dig of the blade in the ice, the faint trail it leaves behind. This time, however, I fell. Hard. My toepick caught in a divot, and before I knew what was happening, I went down, smack, on my stomach. A guy bent down to see if I was okay, and I couldn't answer him. I couldn't talk at all. It was the strangest sensation. "You don't have to be embarrassed," he said. I wasn't--I just couldn't speak. Eventually, I could feel the air in my throat, bracing and raw; I let him help me up, I dusted myself off and made my way off the ice to catch my breath and collect myself. I'm a bit bruised today, but grateful that I wasn't hurt more. Now that my husband is recovering from his injury/surgery (he started physical therapy today), we don't need more broken people in the house!

I feel as if the wind has been knocked out of me in another way, too. The news coming from South Asia is too devastating to comprehend. I feel like I did belly-down on the ice--speechless, stunned. I look at the photos of parents mourning their lost children, I hear the accounts of being swept out to sea, and my stomach feels slapped, my head filled with a metallic ringing.

The earth is so powerful. We are so small. But our lives have so much meaning, and to see so much life, so many stories, snuffed out on such a major scale is almost too much to bear. We sent a donation to Doctors Without Borders as soon as we heard what was happening. I wish there was more we could do. Here is a compilation of other organizations that are accepting donations towards relief efforts. Tsunami Help is another clearing house of information.

I hope all of you are having a beautiful holiday season, despite all the pain in the world. May the new year be full of healing and peace on a global scale.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your belly, Gayle! Ow! The news from South Asia doesn't even seem real to me yet. My mind won't quite get there, it's the same problem I have with grasping the number one billion. My brain won't wrap around it. I guess all I can do is make a donation and hug my family and be grateful.

gayle said...

Yes, we have so much to be thankful for. The back of our house has been leaking a bit in the rain, and before the news of the tsunami, this seemed like a major problem. Now I almost welcome the small drip, and feel such gratitude for living in a safe, comfortable, intact and mostly dry home. It's amazing how events like these can shift our perspectives so radically. I still wish there was more I could do.

Thanks so much for writing!