An immense grief anchors this city, tethering Hiroshima to its past. To be here is to carve your emotional real estate bare and lay it in offering. Such tragedy cannot be contained within one person. Hope for peace cannot be contained within one person.
I had not known school children were mobilised during the war and that because of this, so many more had died that day on August 6th, 1945.
I’m sitting here, just having exited the museum. I am sitting on a bench behind the children’s monument where countless paper cranes hang in offering. There will always be an absence in our history, no matter the time elapsed. But peace is the result of a collective hope, cultivated.
The cranes collect.
The garden is cultivated.
The city moves and yet exists in reverence. I think about the immense pressure the world is bearing and I wonder about negative pressure. How it was a second blow, returning for an encore in a city already devastated.
Everything is consequential.
People died, are dying.
Trees grow upward from damaged soil.
Sakura season comes again.
A city rebuilds.
I am still preparing for the unimaginable. The unspeakable scenes we continue to rehearse each day in this world are enough to fill a person. A class of Japanese school children recite words in unison before offering their paper cranes. Their contribution adds to the collection, filling the row of little clear booths facing the monument.
A bell rings.
It is not the physical presence of paper cranes but the consciousness of their purpose that imbues me with a pin prick of hope. And that is hope enough.