I am SO Sorry.

(Note to readers:  The reality I witnessed when visiting Hiroshima today was harsh.  My reflections are harsh as well. It is not my intention to offend, rather to awaken.)

There’s no way to put a soft gel on the results of dropping a nuclear bomb on a crowded civilian population. My mind instantly rejected any idea of photographing any part of the A-bomb park in an effort to share our visit to Hiroshima today. I was on sacred ground.

This is my first post without any photos I’ve taken.  For me, they were not an option.

“I cannot conceive that the man who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a machine. He also had a heart, just like you. He also had his wife and children, his old mother and father. He was as much a human being as you are—with a difference. He was trained to follow orders without questioning, and when the order was given, he simply followed it.”
― Osho, Intimacy: Trusting Oneself and the Other

As many times as I’d seen the image of the remaining shell at ground zero, I was not quite prepared for the impact it had, seeing it “in real life.” My eyes immediately welled up with tears. If I could have, I would have wept for hours. I wanted to put my arms round every Japanese person I saw, saying, “I am so sorry.” It was horrible to be from the country that dropped this bomb, no matter the reasons or justifications.

“Could this be my own face, I wondered. My heart pounded at the idea, and the face in the mirror grew more and more unfamiliar.”
― Masuji Ibuse, Black Rain

black rain
Black rain fallout at Hiroshima

Suddenly the impossibility of really imagining a nuclear bomb dropping out of a sunny sky on an ordinary morning, became a reality that had to be considered. Here in the Peace Park, I could see that within a few deadly seconds, a vibrant neighborhood was transformed into a toxic landscape. Schools were destroyed. The few children who survived the initial blast and made it home, often died within hours of being reunited with a parent.

Dropping those atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime. — George Wald – American scientist

The flash, the heat, the blow, the radiation, the destruction. All there to read or hear about. The black rain. The survivor’s burns and ultimate deaths. The babies dead in their mother’s arms. The shredded clothes of the victims. The survivors’ stories. Ultimately too painful to keep taking in.

nuclear

It was all especially poignant and horrifying because of the recent revival of talks about nuclear war.

My idea for reversing the precarious future of humankind ? Insist that every head of state visit this site to absorb its horrifying lessons.

“I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better. I fully expected that by the time I was twenty-one, some scientist, maybe my brother, would have taken a colour photograph of God Almighty — and sold it to Popular Mechanics magazine. Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable.

What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.”
― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thanks for the Work!

work:retirement

I was feeling close to retirement last year.  I got bogged down with some of the less-than-sexy-details of working within a non-profit organization. Occasionally, it has its challenges. I also got overly involved in thinking about my age.  My wise adult children refused to consider it.  “You’re not retiring!” one daughter angrily insisted.  “What, are you sick?  No! (answering her own question) What are you talking about?”

I’d been shaken strongly enough to realize the importance of keeping on.  Softening, I said, “We’ll see.”  I soon decided my daughters were right.  Hallelujah.

It’s interesting to note how we internalize expectations surrounding ageing.  Some things I had not anticipated, so never thought about (bursitis?dry eye?); while others regarding the “right” age to retire, were culturally imprinted, thought about frequently and not derived from a real need.

People occasionally tell me how much they admire the fact that I’m still working.  The truth is, it’s not like I’m descending into a coal mine every day or laying bricks.  Mostly, I sit calmly working at my computer.  No physical challenges there, except to get away from it periodically.  Psychologically, I still experience the same rush I always have when being in the presence of great dance.  It’s a high.  Why turn my back on that?  I also am the grateful recipient of gratitude from the dancers for providing them with an opportunity to do what they love and have trained for all their lives.  Having the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life is a powerful stimulant.

I’m making stimulating new relationships each year because of my involvement.   I’m forced to socialize more than I might do otherwise.  I know I’m better off because of it.

I could go on.  Let it suffice to say that I love the work I do.  I’m always thrilled when another DANCEworks season begins as it did this week.  The dancers arrive.  Their excitement and enthusiasm are contagious.  The Lobero Theater stage is lit and occupied daily by dancers and choreographers.  My people.  My life.

day 1

I’m privileged to be able to participate and watch them at work experiencing the sweat, toil and joy of creation and thankful that I’m still working.