Remembering the tsunami of 2009: The Blue Horizon!

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Lumepa Hald

I like to wake up looking out to the blue horizon. 

First there is the sound of music, the orchestral sea. 

Then there is light, the touch of sun inside a lover’s eyes. The final sweep is the island breeze along palmy trees, where one will softly sway, in tune, in love, in place. It is a thing of racy hearts, like a dance of grace. 

The blue horizon of Lalomanu has the stare of a thousand years if you ask me. In those eyes, I am sunk deep like a mother without hope and then suddenly reminded of angels. 

My late daughter Moanalei lives in this horizon, so that when I close my eyes, I can see her skipping over clouds, tipping her head sideways to smile at the sunrise, and to hold me there for a while. 

Nine years after the tsunami the wakefulness of the village is like that of a sleeping giant. The trees seem to sprout from a state of a hang glider, off rocks and open land marks. 

The trees are young though tall. Yet there in the hill where the displaced families have moved, the plantations are blooming, and so is the raising of animals, pigs, chickens, cows and goats for some. There is plenty forest still left to be proud of as you can even see the flock of fruit bats in the evenings flying back to the banyan trees further inland. 

The “umu” steam leaves from the “umu” cooking place each Sunday so that when you are on top of the hill, you can see the steam rising to mix like fog in the air. 

The rooster is ever lost as it often roosts in the middle of the day, or perhaps an hour too late from sunrise. 

To say that the island of paradise is quiet is an understatement. It is usually very serene, except for the rush of children to go to school or Sunday things, and till you are really listening at night to hear the spinning wind mills built recently for the sake of electricity. 

The roads are much better as much as the water supply is not. I suppose in time, the villagers will be less thankful to God for the rain supply up the hill as he is the only supplier so far of the basic necessity for most families. 

But you do not hear the villager yelp out in remorse unless he is drunk or fed up with daily pressures. It is human to lose touch of one’s own humanity in times of hardship. The tsunami is a reminder of that always. But that is also the reason the villager is highly prone to accept hardship as part of life.

So the villagers carry on with life without too much worry or signs there-of. The church and village council are ever the strong pillars. One sits white and glorious in the European style building while the other sits majestically revered in the old Samoan traditionally built fale. Both have been placed there to keep the village in orderly fashion. Paradise is a perfect little bubble too if you ask me. 

So here we are, things are going on as they do. But our loved ones are remembered each day though the tsunami day is lived out somehow side by side, remembering the disaster like it was just here yesterday. I remember looking out to sea with my sandal free feet and a child in my arms. Her body was still as much as my heart was empty. 

I am told to move on. But I have no reason to. I feel strength in my pain and I home to it too. I am with her every day even as I close my eyes, feeling the eyes of the blue horizon staring into my soul. 

It leaves a glow of angels, a touch of light and a softly sung lullaby on the wings of butterflies. May your memories of the tsunami give you strength too!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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