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The Floods and the Flow

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Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast of the United States today.
Millions of people witnessed
the combined power of surging wind-blown seas,
spring tides and a cold weather front
sweeping into their streets and their homes
suspending the routine of lives lived in familiar patterns

shops emptied of supplies
transport systems closed, schools closed, businesses closed
even the stock exchange is  closed
as millions take shelter
alongside bottles of water and food supplies that protect them from
waiting for the violence of the storm to subside

last week a storm hit the west coast of France, Spain and Portugal
in a fury of wind and water that drowned their houses and cars
57 people were killed

an earthquake shook the seas off the Californian coast
raising fears of a tsunami

within a short week
we are confronted with the fragility of the systems that hold us
against the force of this elemental power

the planet has shaken her mantle before,
but things are different now

we have settled in our increasing millions
along the shores of her oceans
the faults of her mantle
at the feet of her growing mountains

and every time she shivers
the structures and systems that have taken centuries build
are wiped out in a few hours

there is something that happens in these moments of chaos
when we are called so starkly into dealing with the present
when we leave our homes with our supplies
shifted out of the normality of our lives
and even the rescue services can’t hold back the damage

It is as if some other part of us wakes up
and we become part of a cooperative, coordinated action
that calls us back to community beings
to lay sand bags along shop fronts
take care of the old lady next door
the kid down the street

will we find a vision that holds us in this chaos
that enables us to stand here in the fire
the floods and the flow?

will we start learning something beyond saving ourselves
and the security of our singular lives?

do we need chaos to prompt us into our wider selves?

are realizations of great significance only born of pain?

in Syria the government forces bombed their capital
killing their own children
and we watch the world on our screens
horrified but detached
until ‘we are the ones’

this week carries great learning . . .

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