Oh Hebe. That's amazing. Thank you.
Nice. Truth was it was annoyingly out of focus, so I fiddled with it. I am not finding the Fuji an easy companion – many functions but we are not yet clicking.
You fuel! Always claim that it was intentional! ;-)
Claude had problems with his focus softening too. (Paragraph Just before "Later Paintings"). Pussies on the bookshelf.
it is these individual initiatives and responses that speak loudest to me and reinforce the place of art as one of the pillars of a balanced society…
This. The flowers in cones and the river and other assorted locations really made me smile. And realising how many thousands of people must have individually contributed the flowers was even better.
Incompetent but happy, me.
decimated gardens - a cunning way to reduce water demand.
decimated gardens – a cunning way to reduce water demand.
Lovely photo Hebe. Perfect creation, every bit of it. The vase broken was a small symbol to me of all the troubles there (and so everywhere).I may not be down there but I was born there. Somehow it's ingrained I guess.I think of the planet as one place and when bits fall off, a little of me goes with it. Keep in touch and it touches everyone. I think anyway.
Righto coat getting......
That's beautiful Sofie, I missed you so much.
One thing that’s weird about the anniversary is seeing and hearing news footage for the first time. Most of us had no electricity initially, and even when it was restored I avoided the coverage as much as I could because it was so overwhelming. Even now the police communications make me shiver. I can’t imagine how the emergency services could even begin to manage the situation in the CBD. Those of us in the suburbs knew it would be bad in the city, but just how bad it was, I can barely grasp.
On the day it was some hours before I knew that my flatmates (both working in town) were alive. And longer before I could confirm the safety of various family and friends. I remember a feeling of total blank powerlessness, somewhere beyond fear or anxiety but worse than either of those things.
This time last year, I was working crazy hours, filling in everywhere I could. Because, if I was working, I didn't have to think about what had happened. I still have no idea how my Christchurch colleagues managed those first few days - they were incredible. All that overtime was my way of _helping_, but it was also my way of shutting down so I didn't have to cope. I spoke to my (sobbing) mother ten minutes after the quake, it took two days to confirm my great aunt was OK. And because of the power and phones and all that, it was so hard to be in touch, when all you wanted to do (as Russell said a couple of pages ago) was dispense hugs.
I can remember complaining about writing the words "the death toll has risen to..." over and over, and correcting people who somehow thought Avonside was anywhere near Aranui, other than being on the same side of town. Answering phone calls from scared and angry and lonely people, who needed to know where to find clean water, or how to get to a loved one. Wondering when the sheer magnitude of this thing was going to hit us all.
For me, it was the following week, when I was in Samoa for work, and watching TV1 news late one night. There was a story about how everyone wore red and black day for a day. I was exhausted, having worked about 14 days in a row by that point, most of them 12ish hours. And I sat on my bed, feeling so far from home, so isolated and disconnected, and cried for about an hour.
What would be your first reaction in a crisis? In the past I have wondered what I would do in a full-on situation of unexpected danger -- I spent enough time as a journalist interviewing people who had been through a big thing, or who had been heroic and selfless, to make me question whether I could keep my head let alone be brave enough to help others. I have found that I still can't predict that -- am I totally unself-disciplined or just human?
In the September shakes, while not being a screaming mess, I was very discombobulated -- just couldn't find my balance. I had to take myself and my boys down south for a couple of weeks to settle.
In the big February shake, I was home alone 3km from the epicentre when our eight-seater heavy table suddenly jumped up to shoulder level. (The closer you are to the centre, the less warning shaking you get -- just an indescribably violent shunt upwards). Throwing myself under the table and grabbing the legs as the floor bucked like a mean rodeo bull, my mind went totally clear, cool, and focused. I knew my plan by the time I got out 30 seconds later, and I did it, first firing off six texts to my nearest and dearest that I had saved to draft. I was like that for about 48 hours until I started to shake.
What have been others' reaction experiences?
I spent enough time as a journalist interviewing people who had been through a big thing, or who had been heroic and selfless, to make me question whether I could keep my head let alone be brave enough to help others. I have found that I still can't predict that -- am I totally unself-disciplined or just human?
Yeah, I don't think you can know. Shock and adrenaline affect people so differently, and not even always the same people the same way.
I was also home alone very close to the epicentre in February, and I flat out fell to pieces during the initial quake. There was nothing resembling a rational thought, just flat-out panic. But once that wore off - which was before the next big shake - I'd settled into a mind-set of straight practicality. Finding out if my family were okay, getting them home, making sure they could be fed and amused while we had no power. I found it difficult not to be able to do more practical stuff to help.
All of which, while it seems unselfish, is a coping mechanism. When I ran out of obvious, practical things to do, that's when I started to unravel.
One thing that’s weird about the anniversary is seeing and hearing news footage for the first time. Most of us had no electricity initially, and even when it was restored I avoided the coverage as much as I could because it was so overwhelming.
We managed to get the initial TV3 coverage via a series of internet work-arounds maybe twenty minutes after it hit - when the Campbell Live people were just getting to the PGC building - I remember being in IM/email contact with friends in Sockburn, who got power back pretty quickly, and it was crazy knowing that we'd seen footage of the inner city that they hadn't, that in some ways we knew more than they did.
My initial reaction was complete denial - it was just a big aftershock, those bricks on the ground were just from roofs and facades and we'd all be back to normal in a week or two. There were moments when panic rose (when the police were unaware of the existence of the school, the cathedral spire, our flooded street) but I squished them right down until the next morning when I spent two hours alternately throwing up and shaking uncontollably on my in-laws' sofa.
My main coping mechanism was staying on top of the information. Once I had a computer I spent a lot of time flicking between the council website, civil defence and twitter. If I knew which streets could flush, which supermarkets had loo paper in stock or how big that last shake was, I felt like I was n control.
As Emma and others have pointed out, you just don't know till you get there, do you? I also think it can change. I used to think I was one of life's copers - crisis mode? I'm your woman. However. Recently, we had a bit of an accident in our house, followed some months later by a health scare. At neither of those times was I of any use whatsoever (flapping of hands may have occurred once) and yet, 16 years ago, when faced with a potential terminal illness and it's treatments and repercussions over a period of about a year, I was steely, determined, and very clearminded.
I have found that I still can't predict that -- am I totally unself-disciplined or just human?
I'm going with human.
Edit: There are no rules for how many shocks a person can take.
Fabulous pictures, Lilith. Thanks for posting them.
This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle
Talking Heads, (Nothing But) Flowers
Re: responses to disaster situations.
As Jackie said, changes as you age.
But, also, it changes according to the nature of the event.
I am good at accidents & emergencies ( learnt this when I was 11 years old, and my mother, with 2 of my other siblings, had her brother’s car which she was driving smacked by an idiot who arrived at speed on the one-way bridge we were a third of the way across*…
My mother was temporarily knocked out (and left some of her teeth on the steering wheel); my Nanna was unconscious, and bleeding from a headwound (both were front seat) and I couldnt see my little brother who was being cradled by my Nanna. In the back seat, one of my other sibs was either asleep or unconscious but was breathing OK-
I put my clean hanky over my Nan’s head, pulled my mother off the steering wheel – found my little brother, well swaddled, down at my Nan’s feet & put him back on her lap – got out the car…waited.
All the time I was repeating, in my head, something I’d read in a Reader’s Digest
at a Purakaunui crib: In an emergency, DONT PANIC.
I was able to give the police, and ambulance staff, all necessary details (it sure as shit helped that one of the cuzzies, trapped in the very long traffic queue behind us, was a nurse & could go with Nan and my mother to Oamaru hospital (where she worked)) and later, could testify to a lawyer confirming what I saw.**
I am chilly calm in accidents – or earthquakes – or floods. Or personal accidents (I’ve managed to get myself inside after falling 6 metres from an outside sundeck and breaking my pelvis in 2 places (including dragging myself up 4 outside steps.)
What I *cannot* do is endure prolonged periods of stress.
Whether it’s financial, or other people’s ill-health, I hit the bottle pretty fast.
And I’ve learned that, what works, is what you do-
*my testimony, and her’s, taken in lawyer’s chambers, was instrumental in getting quite a large sum of money being paid to my Nan (this is before the days of ACC). With that money, she had an extension built to the front room, which is -still! – the best room for the winter sun. She loved sitting there and enjoying her garden & the passers-by- and it also paid for my mother’s dental repair work.
**The bridge was on the state highway 1, between Dunedin & Oamaru. It was notorious as a crash site, and was replaced not too long after by a double-lane bridge. I still pause, mentally, every time I go over the thing- just remembering-
Good pic Lilith. this place makes me smile too. A silver lining is that lots of vistas are opening up all around the city, and views of the the Port Hills are appearing too. One I saw yesterday was Moorhouse Ave when you look across to the now-gone Freedom furniture shop next to Dalgety's woolstore building and can see straight through to the hills.