Friday, January 6, 2012


The world is a strange and increasingly interconnected place.

There were quite a few articles circulating last month speculating on the nature and size of the debris field currently making it's way from Japan over to the western shores of North America in the wake of the cruel earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

Floating shoes, cars, furniture and other assorted representations of an ordered world turned upside down will soon become visible reminders of our own precarious social contract in North America.

It fascinates me that with all our technological prowess we can't accurately track the size and scope of this ever changing mass of debris, and this of course increases our anxiety. We live in a world where we expect precision and anything that falls short of this is problematic.

This is a fitting metaphor for our age. There is at times a sense that we will eventually be impacted by something that happens "over there", though we can't quite pin point this faceless source of dread that is drifting just beyond the horizon.

I would imagine that even after the majority of debris arrives here there will be items washing up for years, or perhaps decades later. I hope that anyone who finds something on the shore does something meaningful with it and pays homage, not only to lives lost, but to our increasingly small and interconnected world.

I think of the debris like a bridge, like the frozen waters of the last ice age that brought continents together. This may force us to throw out our old maps and reconsider where we all stand.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

What a very thoughtful take upon the imminent arrival of the debris field - a permanent seismic shift as opposed to a temporary, albeit highly significant, event. I think it would bode well for all of us to consider the connectivity of our lives through something as tragic as this slowly floating debris.

Westcoast Walker said...

Thanks for comments Barb - with the debris coming so close to home I have been pondering this for a while.