Thursday, February 24, 2011

An even stranger day in paradise

As Tuesday dawned my biggest worries were how to get through yet another 35 degree day without ending up with a face like a wet cricket ball (my new look), how to deal with the Monstrous Mandurah Mosquitoey Massacre (you don't want to know, well unless you are thinking of moving here in which case you really do need to know) and what to cook for tea given that the temperature in our kitchen has barely dipped below 30 degrees in a month.  I had a big fat "To do" list in my paw and was about to head out the door when the phone rang.  It was my lovely neighbour (Tammy the dog's owner) offering condolences, a cup of tea and company should I need someone to watch the TV with.

That was the first I'd heard about what a truly hideous day Christchurch people were having.  All my plans for the day were blown away as yet again I sat glued to the computer and TV watching the dreadful story unfold.  It is enormously distressing to sit here and see the destruction but of course that in no way compares with the ghastly situation my dear friends and everyone else in Christchurch are living through. 

To those of you living in a devastated city I send my love and best wishes and I wait in hope to hear good news of you and your loved ones, though tragically not everyone is going to get the "We are all OK" news we long for. I feel so far away and useless.  I keep hearing perky "onwards and upwards" talk from politicians about doggedly rebuilding Christchurch: the old "Keep Calm And Carry On"  and "We will emerge stronger" sentiments.  I guess they have to say that but it makes me feel strangely uneasy. I know many of you and your children were already feeling emotionally battered and bruised after the months of relentless aftershocks so this must just be the absolute pits.

Yesterday we received this message from a friend in Christchurch which she described as a "cloudy, drizzly, collapsing city":
"It is distressing to see all the things in life that you work hard to achieve collapsing around you, but the best thing is knowing that the people who mean so much to you are there.She asked "Maybe it's time to think about a new start in a new place – or is that cowardly?"  I for one would answer that no, it isn't the slightest bit cowardly.  It takes enormous courage to decide to leave a place you love and the people you love.

The pictures in this post are of Argentinean artist Tomas Saraceno’s floating sculpture Cloud City.  It was commissioned by The Perth Festival and was installed at a park in Perth on Saturday 19th Feb where it was supposed to stay tethered and floating until Sunday 27th Feb.  Sadly, less than 24 hours after it was installed, this gorgeous sculpture was battered and destroyed by strong winds, and parts of it set sail across the city and were later found 15 kms away in the sea.  I didn't get to see it; these photo of it in its full glory then post-destruction are by Fenella Kernebone from ABC Arts.  You can also see some very beautiful photos of this unexpectedly ephemeral work on Richard Eden's Flickr photostream here.

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