Tuesday, 22 February 2011

A matter of perspective

It's easy to complain that we've had a bad day or let off steam about something irritating or annoying. Sure, I was late for work today because my kitten decided to keep playing hide and seek long after I'd stopped. The shine of what was my dream job has now dulled to a dim glow that I sometimes have trouble locating at all. I'm carrying the brunt of several vacant roles and hitting brick walls at every turn. Of course, there are the everyday stresses that everyone experiences. However, I'm healthy, safe, have a home to live in, a wonderful partner, family and friends, food to eat, money in the bank, and I'm happy. After today's devastating earthquake in Christchurch, and following on from the earthquake on 4 September 2010, there will be tens of thousands living the Canterbury region who might not be able to say the same.

Over the summer break, we caught up on watching the BBC documentary series Earth: The Power of the Planet. In each episode, geologist Dr Iain Stewart explains the effects and importance of a specific force of nature, such as wind, ocean currents or volcanism. He also looks at the various ways it shapes the planet itself and influences life on Earth, often in conjunction with other natural forces. Apart from Stewart's Scottish accent making everything sound even more convincing (and appealing), what I love about astronomy and geology is the sense of awe that comes from comparing our individual lives with the magnitude of the earth and space; we are merely blips on the horizon, if we register at all. The universe will keep going well after we're gone, even taking into account its changing form. In concluding the series, Stewart said something along the lines of, 'no matter what happens, the earth will survive - it's people that won't'. That really puts things into perspective.

To everybody who safe and well, don't let a day go by without realising how precious life is. Appreciate life's simple pleasures as well as big treats. Blow bubbles in the sun and play the ukulele. Help others but also take time out to watch the clouds go by. Dance, sing and watch the sun set. Life is all too short and the future is promised to no-one. Oh, and make sure you have an adequate earthquake emergency kit at home and work - that will be this weekend's job to do.

Kia kaha, Christchurch.


LatteJunkie said...

We will be taking the time to set up our kits properly and make concrete plans... It seems knee-jerk in a way but I'd rather never use the stuff than need them and not have them.

Have a great day looking for the magic in each moment! My first cup of coffee tastes particularly good this morning!

Alli said...

So true! It's important to stop and take in all the reasons to smile we have in the day. Life can be hard and stressful sometime and it's sad that some days we need others who are a little worse off to show us this. (Last semester I had been really frustrated from class and went to the store afterwards. I was grumbling the whole time and this older woman stopped me and asked me to get her a certain type of tea because she was too weak to bend down and reach it). At least it stops us in our tracks an tells us we need to appreciate what we have.

I would LOVE to see that documentary! As an future earth science teacher and a geologist I think it'd be a cool one to watch. We tend to hover on the History Channel over here when there are geologic shows or Earth's history shows on. :)

I'm thinking about all the people in the earthquake too. What a rough day.