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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Socks for Japan

I haven't forgotten that this is supposed be a poetry blog. It's just that it's difficult right now to think of anything other than the disaster up north, and that's difficult to write about. It's always hard for me to write about something that is currently happening or has happened recently. Usually it's years after an event before I write about it, before I have any idea what I think or feel about it that might be useful to other people. Which is why when I sit down to write about the earthquake and tsunami of two and a half weeks ago, I end up writing about the earthquake in Kobe 16 years ago (which I wasn't in, but my then-boyfriend-now-husband was). Sixteen years, that's about the amount of time it takes for me to be ready to write. So that's why I keep just posting links to disaster-related sites, organizations, articles.

So bear with me while I post another one. This one is for Socks For Japan, a group, headed by Jason Kelly, which is gathering new pairs of socks to distribute to the hundreds of thousands of people in "temporary" shelters. I have been concerned about my elementary-aged sons who have watched the disasters unfolding on TV and who know about our family's monetary donations, but who may not be internalizing the events in a way that is healthy for them. I wanted them to have a chance to feel that they could respond as individuals, could DO something in the face of disaster, indeed that they have a responsibility to do something. So this week we went shopping together and picked out socks, bagged them according to the instructions given on the website above, and included with each pair of socks a message of encouragement and hope to the recipient.

My younger son, ever efficient, painstakingly wrote out a message and then copied it word-for-word for each of his pairs of socks. His older brother, the family sweetie, insisted on writing an original message to each recipient, writing about the earthquake in Kobe (which he was not born for but which every year his school dedicates an entire day to) and how our city has renewed itself, and how theirs will too, how someday their lives will be back to normal, but for now it is cold, so please wear these socks.

My sons saw an organization on TV which was bringing bicycles to our neighbors up north. We talked about what a great idea that was, what a start towards independence it would give people who have lost their homes and their cars. My sons wanted to get involved in that, but somehow we missed the information about what organization it was. So we gave socks. We can't do everything, but we should do everything we can.

2 comments:

Carol said...

Jessica,
This is amazing. It's so wonderful to hear what you are doing and feeling and I know exactly what you are talking about with reacting later.
Thank you so much for this post and link. It does a lot.

Mari said...

I am so touched by this post. And I, too (and I suspect many poets), can't write about something until years afterward...