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.
Commemorating Sadako Sasaki and the other thousands of child victims of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.
Japanese school children walk along the opposite bank.
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.
Nostalgia is the vapour left after moments have been lived.
Existing incorporeally as intangibility and wisp
Gift-wrapped in the fog of memory,
And shrouded in comfort’s haze –
Space-time yields to the demands of thought:
Nostalgia can be warm,
Playful and exciting
Evoking summer’s recollections
Of iced desserts and sand-encrusted feet
The sticky marks of chocolate sweets
And icy lemonade
Desalination on your skin –
That salty scent infused
With sunscreen’s permeation
Your bucket hat, a crown,
Sandcastles, mystic realms
Bewitched by seaweed, salt, and sun.
Happiness is simple as nostalgia has us believe
And despite our longing we continue to believe.
A stream embroidered with algal threads running gently between two grassy banks.
Birds have landed two metres away.
The breeze gently rustles the native trees, adding sparkle to the shine endowed by sun. And the blue above is picturesque – cloudless azure. The yellow-green tendrils of tree only highlight the sky’s radiance.
Dragonflies skirt the stream, butterflies flutter by, and you lay languidly on the lawn.
You hear the distant rumbles of a plane and suddenly you are laughing as you recognise the people falling from the sky – armed with multicoloured parachutes and glee.