2020 Nov 12
Here is a meditation; a salutation to the Northern sun.
A story from the upper quarter of the island, rising again. Years of conflict ripped apart the land and now, a decade later, shell-shocked houses remain scattered across the outskirts of towns. They sit there like reminders of dark days that seemed to never end. Thousands of homes broken by the fighting and many more thousands now gone to be one with the earth.
A story of resilience, as bright as the morning sun.
Nowhere on earth will you see people rise up and move onward from tragedy the way we do here in Sri Lanka. Some say we are too quick to forget, but I doubt that we will stop remembering the tragedies that have taken three decades of our lives and taken our loved ones with it. The North epitomizes this sense of moving forward. Its inhabitants are early rises, ready to rise again each morning and shake off the darkness of the night before. Sri Lankans don’t forget; we carry the darkness inside us as we face the light of day. We have learned that the sun always rises, sending yesterday away.
Jaffna is poetry in motion.
In the North, the pace is gentler and days begin at dawn. One by and one or two at a time, people begin to bustle about. On bikes and bicycles, by foot and through causeways that connect the dots that form the peninsula. From Jaffna to Kayts, from Poonaryn to Pannai, from Point Pedro to Casuarina Beach.
Sunrises are a spectacular affair in the North. The sun, bigger, hotter and closer to the Northern earth. With no mountains for cover, it rises fast, raging its heat across the land in no time. If you find yourself travelling through the North, remember to wake up early like the locals do. Celebrate the last gush of the cold night air as it disappears fast, giving in to the hot light of day.
Watch the early risers and become one with this land that has been broken down but keeps on rising. Take a ride along the causeways and watch the sunrise over sleeping streetlights, silhouetting the early riders making their way across the Peninsula. The sun rises over houses of worship, embracing crosses and Kovil towers. It rises through construction sites and homes, over pathways and behind its people who rise again.
Sunrise is meditation; a gift given daily by a star shining brightly on your face. In Jaffna the sun is closer, the blessing deeper. If you are north-bound, remember this: you travel to a land of rebirth. When you’re there tread lightly, awaken early and learn to be born again.