Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Perspective in Ash

Today I wish we had television; Comcast cable with 23 different news channels to surf through. It is the first time I have thought such a thing in the 4 years since we abandoned television altogether.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who had never heard of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano before last Thursday. In fact, "hear" may be a loose term in regards to this volcano, as I have only heard one person actually try to say the name. I believe it is more commonly known as the "Icelandic Volcano".

I don't mind. American ears, much less tongues, just don't do well with that many oddly chosen consonants.

So there's the ash.
Then theres 96,000 flights canceled over the last five days.
Then there is me, sitting in front of my computer, checking BBC and CNN for updates every couple hours. My eyes sting. My pregnant body wants a soft chair. In short, I want cable news to pour over me while I lay on the couch stressing over
whether or not we will fly to Manchester England on Friday for Matthew to face the grueling ordeal of defending his doctoral dissertation.

There is a proportionate amount of uncertainty swirling about in the ethos, above our technology dependent heads, companion to those millions of tons of ash being spewed by a heretofore unknown fracture in the Earth's crust. Such dense uncertainty leads to chaos in absolutes.
Absolutely no flights.
Absolutely no way home.
Absolutely no idea in anyone's head when things will change.

All this exported from Iceland.
I liked it better when Iceland was mainly exporting woolen goods.

Had I not spent a good deal of money on plane tickets to England for dates so in danger of being terminally affected by all this, I would have the luxury of being a curious, and slightly sympathetic bystander - as I usually am - in regards to most chaos and catastrophe that comes to me by way of NPR - with variations on my level of sympathy. This time my stomach hurts and my head reels from only the potential effect awaiting me...not to mention my poor, doctoral defense bound husband.

My anxiety and "suffering" is a little bit inconsequential at this point. I am a person, in my home, with my family, enjoying a bed, not yet caught in the web over Europe. Except that web is invisibly large. When considering the domino effect of closing Heathrow Airport the web gains some visibility as a thing that consumes the world. The British Empire may have let go their purchase on many a foreign shore in the last century, but you close down London's airports and it is felt in every far corner of the earth.

Yesterday Caroline stood at my side asking questions about the video clips showing stranded people all over Europe and the UK.
"Where is the ash, Mommy? Are you and Dad going to England today? Where is your airport"
I pulled out our Great Britain Road Atlas A-Z, and showed her Manchester, and the parts of England that might be reopened soon. She flipped through the pages stopping on London.
It looks like this:

"Wow," she said, with appropriate awe. Declaring, "That's the world, kiddo."

That's Caroline calling me kiddo, not me talking to the four-year-old.

And she's got it right. London is THE World. It lies at the center of so much civilization and economy - even today.

But as I put Cecily to bed last night and said a prayer that consisted of just this phrase; "Heavenly Father, thank you for my family," I became so profoundly aware that this little house, with these five people (almost six) is MY world. England is a thing that has contributed in no small way to the development of my world. But it is here, with this family that I find I am untouched by any amount of uncertainty...or ash.

1 comment:

aubtobobtolob said...

cliche but always true, its in his hands... and I for one am thankful for it!
(now seriously could they just get back to the woolen things?)