The rising cloud of dust almost completely obscures the business centre of our country's second largest city, with its fascinating blend of buildings Victorian and modern, utilitarian and graceful, sacred and secular. All kinds of structures have suffered indiscriminate damage in the moments before this photo was taken.
And while this awful cloud was rising over the dying CBD, all kinds of people died: young and old, white collar and blue collar, wonderful and ordinary. Some were snuffed out in a moment; others lingered for hours and perhaps even days before rescue or merciful death relieved them.
In view of the immense losses of life and property it seems obscene to be preoccupied with news about the bits and pieces of life in our little parish. But the people of Christchurch know they have to pick themselves up out of the rubble and move on. And we in the Bay, who are more vulnerable to tsunami, landslips and fire than we care to admit, also have to get on with the everyday stuff.
So the newsletter went out last night. Even in appalling death and disaster, life goes on.
Live yours well, friends.