TITLE: Ring of Fire 1-31-2013
By Ada Nett
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Ring of Fire
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
~The Preacher~ 1:9 KJV
Japanese Tsunami of 1896
Life's last hours are seldom seen as such, by those who live them. The day had dawned beautifully with soft gray skies that ruptured with a gentle mist, just as the first tremor shook the sleepy seaside village. Having risen long before the sun climbed over the edge of the deep blue bay, the fishermen were already at sea, the minor tremors mostly unnoticed as they cast their nets to a surprisingly abundant catch of fish. The tremors continued throughout the day, for a total of thirteen,none strong enough to detour the aged men, work-worn women and the scantily clad children of the fishing village, from daily life, by the sea, within the ring of fire.
The villagers, tied to tradition adhered rigidly to ancient rituals,observing festivals and holidays according to the old Japanese calendar. Today marked the fifth moon, the fifth month, the fifth day and the festival of the Dolls. Mothers and daughters celebrated the day by making paper dolls and sitting them in tiny hand made boats which they carried to the shore and let the sea sweep away,while mouthing words of petition that the bad fortunes of the future
would be carried away with the dolls leaving only good fortune to follow. How ironically sad that the opposite would literally occur.
The evening sky dressed itself in a foggy multicolored sunset and the mist that had lingered all day finally condensed enough to wed the rain and give birth to a torrent of single drops falling freely to the ground, forcing the villagers inside their homes to seek refuge from the water. As darkness rolled down the sides of
the sky the rain stopped and as the clouds parted revealing the moon center-stage hanging heavily over the receding waters of the bay.
Only a few survivors could describe what happened next, and their perceptions are tinged with terror, each person describing the sound, the height, the power of the incoming wave with different perceptions. Eye-witness accounts that when woven together create a horrific tapestry of mass destruction. The most terrifying account describes the waters of the bay receding,and a black wall of water forming across the horizon with mesmerizing phosphorescent lights gleaming along its crest, then a distant growl, growing into an unbearable ear-splitting roar sent them running from the oceans edge toward the slopes behind the village, screaming an alarm never heard by the other villagers cocooned inside their homes.
Out at sea the fishermen were unaware as the tsunami wave passed underneath their boats barely lifting the vessels six inches higher as it gathered force heading toward the shore where their families huddled oblivious to the
impending disaster. When the wave hit the village it instantly swept away. Later the next morning as the shipping fleet returned to shore they were greeted by debris and bodies floating in the coastal waters as they sailed homeward .
Mountains flowed behind the huddled huts along the strip of sand, isolating the village from the outside world, because of this rugged mountainous terrain communication was delayed as it traveled over the narrow passes and days would pass before the world at large would be stunned to learn that the the village of Kamaisha, Japan had been washed from the face of the earth.
It was an old one-roomed house, the exterior covered in long languid yellow sheets of tin. It sat in an old grove of gray oaks with limbs as thick as the trunks of the younger oaks that lived in the wooded edges just beyond the yard.Cutting through the grass leading from the front porch steps a dirt path, tracked cement hard, gleamed eerily white in the light of the full moon that hung suspended over the rusted tin roof of the house. Crisp winter air swallowed the condensing dew, forming delicate flakes of frost on the low grass of the meadow, covering in white, the low gently rolling slopes that fell gracefully down to border the river behind the house. The white plaster covered chimney exhaled a steady stream of soft gray smoke leaving the lingering odor of burning wood hanging lightly in the air.
Inside the house against the back wall stood a heavy cast iron stove. It's door cracked open, the shadow of flames flickering and dancing on the flower-papered wall beside an iron bed. In the bed, two softly sleeping bodies buried under a
heavy handmade quilt slept peacefully and for a brief moment in time all the world was right.
Eliza rolled over,the dream in her head rolled with her, colors melding and separating to ultimately condense into a scene . Dressed in a clean white nightgown, she stood by the well in the yard,In her hand was a freshly drawn bucket of water,catching a movement skyward, she rested her hand over her brow shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun , tilting her neck back she
watched as a speck circling high above the clouds began a slow spiraling descent toward the ground. As it neared Eliza saw that the speck was a large white dove, with iridescent colors like mother of pearl that reflected the sunlight . Eliza closed her eyes against the glare, when she opened them the dove had landed on the rose bush
climbing the trellis beside the well. The bush was barren but for two tiny pink rose buds nestled snugly within the foliage. The dove cooed a mournful song, bent its graceful neck and nipped off one of the buds,turning and cocking it's head toward Eliza, the dove blinked once and with a sudden movement spread it wings and flew away, Startled, Eliza, lost her grip on the bucket and the water splashed down on her gown.
A gush of warmth followed by a slice of pain pulled Eliza from the depths of the dream and into the reality of a nightmare. A gasp escaped her lips as she sat up and held her stomach. The bed creaked as her husband Willie turned and lifted the quilt rising to sit up beside Eliza. As the ache released its grip Eliza managed to cry “ Oh Sweet Jesus help me , Willie hurry, go get Mannie Maud” as still another pain began to build and contract her words into a groan.Gripping the quilt, Eliza curled her toes tightly and bent forward as she rode the wave of pain to its
peak while Willie pulled on his boots and ran out the door. The ride down the easing side of the
contraction gave Eliza back her words and the last thing Willie heard as he stumbled across the threshold was Eliza's plea “Hurry, Oh Willie please , hurry.” The slamming door set off a jolt of fear coursing through Eliza's body, as the next contraction began.
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