Photographer LUCIA GRIGGI
EMPTY LAND AND FIREFLY NIGHTS
Words and photos by Lucia Griggi
I sit. Awaiting another strike of lightning from a distant storm I know to be growing. It will be with us soon; only a matter of time now. The night sky is discoloured, alive with purple flashes lighting up the empty land before me. I walk past the gate and into the unknown. The darkness wraps around my eyes, the path lit only by the intermittent flashes of lightning. Blackness crowds my mind and I want to turn back. Another flash. I see the path again — only this time the light remains. The jungle, which encircles me, is visible. Palm trees swaying to a fitful breeze. The dancing light continues to confine me. Mozart in luminescence, fireflies are dancing his melody on a musical journey, enchanting me as I stand. I want to dance too. The marshland is too wet in this wooded area, so I let them dance. I await a new morning light.
Seven in the morning on Sunday, the 26th of December 2004. The morning ‘Pirith’ is chanting from the Buddhist temples and echoing throughout the coastal towns of the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The fishermen are preparing their nets for the day’s catch. The orange sun rises over the palms, light striping the windows of the Sri Lankan homes. All is at peace. But by 10 am Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency. The tsunami has hit and has left thousands injured, thousands missing and hundreds of thousands homeless. Calls go out for a doctor but there are no doctors here. With 40-foot waves crashing inland, this tsunami will become one of the most powerful to ever hit the Asian continent. And it will go down as one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
It is now March 2011. I am standing on this empty land. The sun is rising over the water, silhouetting fishing boats diminished by the far horizon mist. A new morning has unveiled itself — bright, still and waiting to be filled. Today I stand here with no fear, but I cannot help but notice the sparse land — a reminder of that morning six years ago.
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