My parents came from the Kyushu Island in the Southern part of Japan to find work in Tokyo. So we could only afford to live downtown, in a low-income area. It was just by the river, and whenever a typhoon came around, we were under water up to, like, here. That's the kind of place we lived in.
And if there is one thing we can be sure of, it's that extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the British floods""disasters that, combined, pummeled coastlines beyond recognition, ravaged millions of homes, and killed many thousands""are going to keep coming.
Flying into a storm, even its outer edges, did not seem like a good idea to me. And this was no ordinary tempest. Everyone on the bridge knew what it was: the Devil's Fist, a near-eternal typhoon that migrated about the North Indian basin year-round. She was infamous, and earned her name by striking airships out of the sky.
This visit is meant to express my closeness to our brothers and sisters who endured the suffering, loss and devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda. Together with many people throughout the world, I have admired the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others.
The typhoon came out of the sea first as a deep hollow roar. ... I was surrounded by the madness, the unreason, of uncontrolled, undisciplined energy. None of this made any sense. It was worse than useless - it was nature destroying its own creation - its own self. To create by the long process of growth and then to destroy by a fit of wild emotion - was this not madness, was this not unreason?
Pearl S. Buck
Imagine the first discovery that one of these epidemics was man-made""the panic, the violence that would ensue. That's where the end would come. A typhoon kills a few hundred people, does a few billion in damage, and what do we do?" Erskine interlocked his fingers. "We come together. We put the pieces back. But a terrorist's bomb." He frowned. "A terrorist's bomb does the same damage, and it throws the world into turmoil." He spread his hands apart like an explosion going off. "When there's only God to blame, we forgive him. When it's our fellow man, we must destroy him.
The typhoon of madness that swept through the country [of Rwanda] between April 7 and the third week of May accounted for 80 percent of the victims of the genocide. That means about eight hundred thousand people were murdered during those six weeks, making the daily killing rate at least five times that of the Nazi death camps. The simple peasants of Rwanda, with their machetes, clubs, and sticks with nails, had killed at a faster rate than the Nazi death machine with its gas chambers, mass ovens, and firing squads. In my opinion, the killing frenzy of the Rwandan genocide shared a vital common thread with the technological efficiency of the Nazi genocide-satanic hate in abundance was at the core of both.
In India they tell a fable about this: There was once a great devotee of Vishnu who prayed night and day to see his God. One night his wish was granted and Vishnu appeared to him. Falling on his knees, the devotee cried out, "I will do anything for you, my Lord, just ask." "How about a drink of water?" Vishnu replied. Although surprised by the request, the devotee immediately ran to the river as fast as his legs could carry him. When he got there and knelt to dip up some water, he saw a beautiful woman standing on an island in the middle of the river. The devotee fell madly in love on the spot. He grabbed a boat and rowed over to her. She responded to him, and the two were married. They had children in a house on the island; the devotee grew rich and old plying his trade as a merchant. Many years later, a typhoon came along and devastated the island. The merchant was swept away in the storm. He nearly drowned but regained consciousness on the very spot where he had once begged to see God. His whole life, including his house, wife, and children, seemed never to have happened. Suddenly he looked over his shoulder, only to see Vishnu standing there in all his radiance. "Well, " Vishnu said, "did you find me a glass of water?
Cook was a captain of the powder-days When captains, you might have said, if you had been Fixed by their glittering stare, half-down the side, Or gaping at them up companionways, Were more like warlocks than a humble man- And men were humble then who gazed at them, Poor horn-eyed sailors, bullied by devils' fists Of wind or water, or the want of both, Childlike and trusting, filled with eager trust- Cook was a captain of the sailing days When sea-captains were kings like this, Those captains drove their ships By their own blood, no laws of schoolbook steam, Till yards were sprung, and masts went overboard- Daemons in periwigs, doling magic out, Who read fair alphabets in stars Where humbler men found but a mess of sparks, Who steered their crews by mysteries And strange, half-dreadful sortilege with books, Used medicines that only gods could know The sense of, but sailors drank In simple faith. That was the captain Cook was when he came to the Coral Sea And chose a passage into the dark. Men who ride broomsticks with a mesmerist Mock the typhoon. So, too, it was with Cook.