Tag Archives: post-earthquake

Time in Miami exile

I picked up a copy of Einstein’s Dreams, a whimsical book which offers glimpses into worlds with different forms of time – each as real as the next.

We have encountered multiple versions of time here in Miami also: the thrilled rush of a new holiday, the lazy time of full days with long breakfasts, the constricting time that accompanies a holiday’s end and imminent return…

… and then the thunder of the earthquake, profoundly personal yet from afar, time flying by at an extraordinary pace, all rush and noise, phone-calls and fast conversations, yet concurrently suspended, our lives in limbo, uncertain.

That time has lasted a while, but is ceding to another form of nervous time, where minutes tick by slowly, yet driving us closer to an uncomfortable new reality. Miami’s weather has been unusually unsettled. Now cold, now hot; now dry, wet, or windy. These fluctuations have contributed to our sense of time at any one moment.

Our time now is spent learning the full extent of what has happened to our community, asking questions inappropriate in those first days, picking up our pieces, re-establishing our children, choosing where to live. All over again.

It looks possible I will head to Haiti for a while, and Anna to New York. Nothing final yet. I would like to do this; it gives me purpose. Anna will try to find her way forward at headquarters.

But our life remains shrouded in uncertainty. What are we going to do with our family in the long-term? Is there any way of recovering our house, our life in Haiti?

In this version of time, events are happening out of our control; we consider their merits in hindsight, not advance. I am sad to be apart from the children; I am glad to catch a wave heading somewhere out of nowhere.

I have been in a suspension for a little while. Most of my life, career, was a charge towards something – becoming a journalist, traveling the world, telling stories; then a switch of style, an exploration of new disciplines, choosing sides, kids, fatherhood.

But the past year has been one of contemplation, transition. A new direction resolving slowly. We were finally settling into a new place, re-establishing a household in a community.

Now I can feel time speeding up again, the clacking of the track gathering pace and intensity; Miami blurring around the edges. A new journey. I have little idea where it leads.