Here is my latest piece. I myself need to be encouraged by the sunflowers and children.
Sunflowers welcomed my arrival at a tsunami-ravaged town in Japan. As the plant is known to grow well in salt-laden soils, locals and volunteers had sown the seeds hopefully. My senses were awestricken by this bursting force of life in the sea of ruins.
The children, like sunflowers, also carried this force of life to the evacuation centers, where their energy and laughter lifted the spirits of the adults.
In Okawa District, the tsunami snatched away the adults’ vigor. This was compounded by certain school officials having made the deadly error choosing the wrong evacuation route for the children. The school’s delay in apologizing for their terrible error further heightened the seriousness of the disaster, angering the survivors. Some parents wondered whether they should accept this as an inevitable consequence of a natural calamity and move forward, or should they sue the school? Their opinions divided, their wounds deepened.
In the midst, someone suggested that they plant sunflowers at the school ground. Initially the young plants did not thrive well. The fathers hauled in water and new soil. The mothers weeded. As they tended the plants, they realized that their children would certainly not wish them to bury the rest of their lives in blame and regret. For the sake of the children, they were to LIVE fully.
That summer, the symbol of resilience grew strong stems and blossomed toward the sun.