I’m talking about the Sunday after the quake, although Sunday hadn’t even fully arrived.
I was lying in bed, in the darkness, unsure what time it was.
Since the violent shake, I had been suspended in a surreal, dazed existence. We killed the first couple of hours on a tennis court, as the ground turned intermittently into waves and shudders. Then I walked with a friend to another friend’s house.
And then, as evening approached, I grew more and more quiet, although friends around me opened beer bottles and made small talk.
I can’t remember all the details clearly. But I remember worrying about rain. The friend’s neighbors came in a big group, wanting shelter on the front verandah.
There were about twenty of us, inside and outside.
We then went to sleep, but rushed outside, escorted by another jolt.
I smoked a cigarette at 2 am and came back to bed.
But I was woken up again.
It was still dark. But I heard the birds. I heard the birds singing. The sound pierced through the darkness as if it came from another world. For the first time, after the quake, that sound lurched my mind from a state of death to a state of life.
I had been unable to think of anything else before that. I had been thinking only about the houses crumbling, about the sightseers swaying and screaming on Dharahara’s balcony before they all fell into one huge pile of broken limbs. I had been thinking of the people in the villages, of the children in the rain.
What if the ceiling fell on top of me? How many bodies were still buried in Basantapur? Would the ground shake again? When? Right now? This second?
But I heard the birds sing in the darkness. And I remembered that there was still life outside the windows. I listened some more. I waited. I waited for I don’t know what.
More thoughts came and went. The birds kept singing. And when I turned to look towards the window, I noticed the first, faint glow of light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot