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By Staff | Mar 18, 2011

Late last week I was wondering about what I would write about for this week and thought I had a subject with the approaching change to Daylight Savings Time that took place over the weekend.

I have never understood the logic behind this silly twice-a-year exercise.

I was lining up my arguments in my mind to include in my composition for when I would sit down at the computer.

Then in the early hours of Saturday morning I heard on the news about the earthquake in Japan. That case I was building to complain about became so small, it became meaningless.

First, I heard about the severity of the earthquake. Any earthquake whose magnitude begins with the number 8.0 is very serious. In fact, this one was approaching 9.0 which meant it was catastrophic.

Then the tsunami warning and I heard of the total devastation of the coastal towns in the area of the epicenter.

By this time I was wondering about how it could be any worse and that was when I started reading about the nuclear power plant that had lost its ability to cool itself and the fears of what would mean.

Since then, the news has continued to be bad and I have become afraid to wonder how it could be worse because it seems like anything that can go wrong does.

The rebuilding that is ahead for that area of northern Japan requires words like monumental, Herculean, words that border on the impossible.

And yet, I am not sure those words are strong enough. It would seem some towns will be leveled, never to be rebuilt.

This was a huge lesson in the fragility of our civilization and we humans.

A week ago, it was nearly 3 p.m. on Friday in northern Japan. The people at work were thinking ahead to what was left of the week and their plans for the weekend.

Homemakers were planning or preparing the evening meal. These were typical events that had happened every Friday for decades.

Then the earthquake occurred and life will never be the same for thousands of people. The coastal residents have lost their family members, homes and work places.

Even the places they depended on for basic needs such as banks, grocery stores, electricity, or a source of safe, clean drinking water are gone.

The residents of northern Japan have been reduced to living like refugees in their own country – a country that is considered affluent by any world standard. Whatever future these people were planning for is gone.

Their remaining asset is the Japanese people themselves. Aid will come from many places around the world, but the job of rebuilding will be done by the Japanese in the coming years. The Japanese will prove they are equal to the task.

I watched all these things happen in front of me on my television and computer screen as I look ahead to another crop year.

I have diesel fuel in my tanks, seed and fertilizer lined up, and equipment that is being readied for work only weeks away.

If everything goes like I want it to, by early May, the seed will be in the ground and we will be watching the weather and the markets as we work towards the fall harvest.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to have your future yanked out from under you.

Big-screen TVs, a 4G network, or where your favorite team is in the playoffs, do not mean much when the only thing you have is the blanket you are huddled under and night is approaching.

I may complain about Daylight Savings Time someday, but it will not be this year.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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