The Aroma of Beauty

We stepped out into the debris cleared space to set up a market and start making tonjiru (pork miso soup). The area surrounding us was overwhelming in its devastation and stench of decaying fish and squid washed in by the tsunami.

Then something magical happened! The pleasant aromas of the cooking soup began to waft through the air, a smell almost forgotten in the memories of the survivors who began to line up. They had not been able to cook for over a month. It awakened a hunger for life, an appetite for something that really existed, a soup that could satisfy that hunger...for a little while.

In the picture above, you can see Bruce Huebner (graduate of the top music school in Japan) playing his shakuhachi bamboo flute while people wait in line for the soup. His tunes wafted gently through the air telling stories of pain and of peace. It awakened in us a joy in life that had been forgotten. It was not a way to distract people from the boredom of waiting in line. It was not mere entertainment. It was the delicious odor of a soup of a different kind, but one nonetheless just as real and meaningful, perhaps more so! It pointed to a source of beauty that will always satisfy and never fade away. Our spirits heard it and remembered...