The Earth Moved, (while I was sleeping)

ViewRoppong5When I first arrived in Tokyo, I was experiencing bouts of mild vertigo, which I now attribute to anxiety. Anxiety about not understanding and not being understood, fear of the unknown, whatever. Around the time leading up to and after my exhibition, I would lie in my bed exhausted, excited, yet unable to sleep. I swore the bed was moving under me, but I checked the Earthquake site for Japan the next morning and there had been no activity recorded for the Tokyo area. My senses were hyperactive, feeling my own blood throb inside. I only had to lie there vibrating – my own centre of seismic activity.

But last week, the ground moved under me. It was the second time since being here. I don’t know if it is something I could get used to or not….like living on a boat. Now, every shimmer or rumbling noise triggers my earthquake antenna…is that…..? It almost never is, but the fact that I am asking myself that now is significant. The first shake-up came shortly after Paul left for home. It woke me up – 5:15am and I wasn’t able to go back to sleep. The bed rocked – not like a boat, more like a shake, a tiny toss in the air and I was up – my first thought was – earthquake?!!! Yes, get up. Where should I be? And then…I want to look outside, outside at the next door building to see if it is swaying. But, it wasn’t moving, not a big enough jolt, and maybe that’s a good thing. Only 6.2 as it turns out, the biggest since the big one in 2011 and not really big enough to hurt much. But the whole building swayed – I could feel the gentle movement. The walls and ceiling creaked for a long time afterwards.

My initial excitement quickly turned to disquiet, a kind of unsettled feeling, like I was somehow outside of myself – off balance. That feeling stayed with me for about 24 hours. But what has not left is that sense that everything is moving. If I just stop for a moment and feel the earth, it is moving.