On Friday I had my weekend all mapped out. Work Saturday & on Sunday a linedance social celebrating Spring. It was easy, relaxed & unhurried.
This time on Friday night I was out for dinner with some friends at a fabulous Greek Restaurant, eating wonderful food, listening to great music played on the Bouzouki &, in between laughing until my throat was raw at the witty repartee that was constantly flowing at our table, thinking nostalgically of how very much hearing the Bouzouki reminded me of my Papa playing his Mandolin.
Then overnight the world shifted somewhat. At least my little corner of it did, both physically & literally.
I wont bore you with all of the details of what it felt like to be soundly sleeping one second & the next almost physically thrown out of bed, apart from saying that I have never been so terrified in my entire life.
Somewhere between becoming conscious that everything was shaking & the house was banging all around us the world went from the usual amount of night time light to being pitch black.
I found my torch easily as it has a special light for instances just as this. I have never been so thankful for spending far more than I should have on that torch a few years back than I was in the early hours of Saturday morning. After the initial quake was over, people checked upon , damage taken stock of & things moved & secured in case of aftershocks I just stood outside trying to regroup my thoughts & slow my heart down a bit.
It was a freezing cold but crystal clear night & with most of the city in darkness the heavens were absolutely spectacular. I have never seen anything of such amazing beauty from within the city boundaries..... & more than anything else that is what struck me. A velvet black sky full of all of the stars that we normally see on a clear night, but with thousands upon thousands more tiny little twinkles that are usually invisible to us against the reflection of the city lights. In that instant I knew that everything was going to be alright.
When I finally went back to bed I had no idea what the earthquake had measured nor the ensuing aftershocks. I'd realised that we were abysmally unprepared for this sort of thing & with all power out there wasn't anything to be done about it at that point anyway.
All I could think about as I lay down was Haiti & their earthquake in January this year. In those wee small hours I formed an even deeper understanding, empathy, admiration & respect for the people of Haiti.
Here in Christchurch, everything is alright. Buildings have been damaged, some irreparably, & possessions have been damaged & broken. But they are just 'things'. People have not been killed. Injuries have been few & relatively minor, with only two serious injuries in a city that has a population of 386,000 people - how miraculous is that?
Christchurch, whether most realise it or not right now, is indeed blessed.
A lot of this still seems surreal & in blog posts over the next few days I will attempt to explain why, as well as document my thoughts & observations.