I've been sighing a lot lately. Sighing is such a biological marvel: the deep exhalation that can convey so many emotions. Lamentation. Frustration. Exhaustion. Contentment.

I feel like it was just yesterday we were compulsively checking for updates about oil spewing into the Gulf, and the day before that following the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. Now it's uncontainable radiation, another earthquake. Another tsunami. Such a devastating combination of natural and human disasters.

And, as always, there's the life that goes on in your own home, in between readings of the New York Times and prayers for those who are suffering. Last summer my concern for the Gulf was often overshadowed by our cross-country move; if I remember correctly, the oil started leaking just days before we boarded the plane. I think I will always associate the news of recent days with this spate of mind-boggling temper tantrums Juliette's been throwing several times a day. (Unless, of course, these mind-boggling temper tantrums continue for weeks/months/years to come. I'm not ready to go there.)

I've never been the type to push the comparative gratitude thing; i.e., the "there are people who are hungry, so be glad you have broccoli on your plate" thing. The whole project of meditating on other peoples' misfortunes or sufferings to make oneself feel better is off-putting to me. And yet, so many times this week I've found myself at my wit's end (pregnancy greatly reduces the length of my wit), only to remember the mothers and three-year-old daughters who have endured not only a massive earthquake (one of my deepest fears), an unfathomable tsunami, and now the fear of toxic radiation.

And worse, the mothers and three-year-old daughters who did not endure, who did not survive.

And I sigh.

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