Hope After a Destruction

“Standing Strong”. Location: Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Image by Erlyn Olivia.

In celebration of the Thursday Tree Love, I picked this picture that I took 2 years ago during my trip to the city of Banda Aceh, located on the northern tip of the Sumatra Island in Indonesia. I don’t expect anyone to recognize the name Banda Aceh or the province of Aceh, but perhaps some people remember. This city became the attention of the whole world in December 2004 when the biggest tsunami that happened during this modern world hit Aceh. I underlined modern world because history has recorded bigger tsunamis previously but none had shocked the world the way tsunami 2004 did, thanks to the modern technology.

If you look at the vast openness beyond the tree, you can kind of see the open sea. It’s the Indian Ocean. It looked calm in this picture, even though it was a high tide due to the brewing storm. The tsunami came from that direction and the location where I took the picture was the first place hit.

No need to feel sorry for the tree because I know for sure this tree grew post tsunami. I know because half of Banda Aceh was gone, became flat. Thus, this tree probably got its chance to grow because of tsunami. Looking at it, it is a symbol of hope, a hope for a better future, a sign that life continues. Though I enjoyed taking pictures of the tree, the open ocean, the storm clouds, I also experienced mixed feelings of awe, sad, and a bit nervous. I imagined being there on that day and could feel the uneasiness even more. What came to the mind of people standing on this beach when seeing those big waves coming towards them?

Enough with the images of the past, I offer a haiku to remember December 2004 and the lives gone. May they continue to rest in peace.

a wrath in its path

water’s power came crushing

broke the day’s order

Never forget that live always goes on. Signs of life are around us, even when we are experiencing destruction or devastation in the form of tsunami, forest fires, earthquakes, or even pandemic, and let’s celebrate them too. To the tree of live, of hope, may you always grow stronger.


Thursday Tree Love April 23, 2011 with Parul Thakur. Please visit her blog to see more images of trees from all over the world.

#NaPoWriMo2021 – Day 23

6 Comments

  1. I certainly remember hearing about Banda Aceh, and seeing the devastation on TV and internet in 2004. It’s nice to see that life has returned to the area. Your haiku is beautiful.

  2. You took me back in time. To imagine standing there at that moment gives me shivers. However, a lovely picture and the calm tells a different story. It reminded me of the first time I saw the sea after Tsunami.

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    1. Honestly, when my friend who was also the guide at that time took us there I did not know that we were standing at the first place tsunami hit the city. He only told us after we were already back in the car. It left me deep in my thoughts all the way back. I’m still thankful for being able to be there though.

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