driving along the coast it is unimaginable – despite the footage from tv and stills from anonymous cameras – that a wave taller than most buildings here came ashore. in many ways it is hard to distinguish between poverty and nature’s wrath. but overwhelmingly…when the bricks are strewn and debris is heaped, it is a safe – though alarming – assumption that the ocean did that. of course, why devastation from nature is somehow greater than devastation for any other reason…subsidized housing, waning economies…why are disasters of the elements elevated to some grander scale of solemnity.


yesterday in colombo was my first glimpse of the war. the tourist haven of kandy shielded easily the reality of 20 years of conflict but as we wound past the water beating at the shore, through crowded streets stuffed with tuk tuks and flowing saris, we reached a barricaded area. metal grates with spikes slowing our progress. as we wound though. to the right – evidence of past bombings -parts still scorched…unmended. to the right, military police and other soldiers looking alertly around -guns at the ready. and posted at the entrance to the security zone, a bright yellow sign in sinhala, tamil and english warning – in case the guns and blue fatigues weren’t enough – not to take pictures.


it’s beyond sticky. my skin as damp as the sheets on the bed, nothing ever dries it seems. the air saturated with a mixture of salt and sand and maybe an urge to forget. driving through town today – meeting after meeting- footage of a disaster of epic proportions, and i didn’t realize – didn’t see – until pointed out – that the bustling dirty bus station with rows of tuk tuks and vendors of fruit and sundry goods – all of that was beneath a wave of salt water saturated with the debris of everyday living. back to normal back to normal back to normal. but the palm trees remember…for now…marked at their tops (the 40 ft mark) with a red tide line.

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