Saturday, January 7, 2012

A terrible day

As it happened, we were coming over to the Wairarapa from Wellington today. Just before we left, we saw the news of the hot-air ballooning tragedy. We passed the road leading to the site of it at about 1pm. We had stopped in Carterton, which the TV1 report tonight described as a town in shock, but of course many people were going about their business as usual. What else do you do? Life goes on, as Auden memorably told us, even while terrible things are happening close by. I was also sorry to see TV1's reporter call Carterton a 'close-knit community,' because this silly cliche is wheeled out every time there's a tragedy in any place smaller than a big city. But it's petty of me to quibble about things like that at this time. Out of a clear blue sky, something unbearable to imagine happened in a field outside Carterton early this morning; and I think, like everyone, I am in shock about it. In Masterton we talked to a woman who has family in Somerset Rd, where the burning balloon came down, and I heard enough then to make me not want to know more. This is a terrible, terrible day.

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