Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prayer Tree

This tree is part of the Meji Shrine in Tokyo, a Shinto shrine devoted to the spirits of the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The wooden plaques surrounding the tree contain prayers from visitors, written in thick black ink in many different languages. The vast predominance of those I could read prayed simply for peace in the world.

I visited Japan for business, just a week before the devastating tsunami and earthquake. I am so very grateful that I was safely back in San Francisco with my family before it happened.   Had the fault slipped just a few days earlier I could have been stranded on the freezing streets of Tokyo, armed only with my four words of Japanese (Hello, Excuse me, Thankyou and Beer). I'm sure I would have been fine, I know that the lovely people of Tokyo would have taken care of me, but it could have been a very anxious time for me, and for Geekydaddy and the kids back here with no way of knowing if I was OK.

I'm also, rather selfishly, glad that I got to go. Had this happened before my much anticipated trip I would not yet have visited this incredible part of the world.

Living here on another faulty part of the earth's crust, us Californians feel a kinship with those in Japan, and a collective fear that something similar could, indeed probably will, happen here in our lifetimes. The earth seems to have been awfully angry recently. I really should get that emergency kit prepared.

I didn't add a prayer to the tree when I took this photo, though I felt very contemplative as I wandered around the beautiful shrine. When I go back to Japan I will return to that tree and add a prayer that all those who were lost, or who lost someone they loved will find peace. And I'll pray that the earth stays quiet for a while.

if you want to donate to Japan this is a good resource for identifying the most effective charities. I donated to 'doctors without borders'.

This was a post for "the gallery". The prompt was trees.