Friday, March 21, 2014
What a week. There’s nothing like being awakened at dawn on a Monday morning only to find your bed rocking back and forth accompanied by an evil sounding thud. The thing about earthquakes is when they are happening you don’t know how long they are going to last or if they are going to get worse. So I stayed put and let out a feeble yell of surprise and displeasure.
Luckily, it was very short. It felt as if my bed and been lifted and dropped, and then left alone. I think the thud was my bed hitting the wall. Instantly I went back twenty years to around the same time of day when the 1994 earthquake hit and I got the same anxious feeling that led me to not eat for a week all those years ago. The earthquake was short and so was the duration of that feeling. I got up and went through the house to see what the shaking had done.
It was random and ridiculous. I found the goggles I’d been given when I went to the shooting range in Georgia with the romance writers had landed on the floor. A signed to my husband photograph of Wayne Gretsky had careened off the bookcase. A handful of maps had slide out of the spot where I had shoved them and spread out near the front door. When I checked the room where I keep all my yarn, and sit in to crochet and knit, I wasn’t sure if anything had fallen because, well, it always looks like there’s been an earthquake in there.
A cabinet had opened in the kitchen, but nothing had come out. When I checked the room where I write, I found that my Queen Elizabeth doll (not the current one, the one with the ruffled collar) had taken a tumble off her shelf where she’d been leaning against my Sherlock Holmes doll and ended up face down on the carpet. All my stacks of precariously piled papers were as I’d left them, though.
The rest of the day was fine, but then as it got dark, I started reliving the shaking and wondered if it was going to happen again. Would I be able to sleep or be too worried about another earthquake? There is always this dark fear that a temblor is just a precursor to something worse. Though as more time passes, it becomes less and less likely.
I did learn a very important lesson after the 1994 earthquake. There were lots of aftershocks happening at random times which were scary. But somehow I began to feel grateful for every moment the ground wasn’t shaking. The feeling of gratitude spread as the aftershocks diminished. And pretty soon I was feeling grateful all the time. I don’t like earthquakes, but I do like the lesson in gratitude that has stayed with me except for that few seconds Monday morning.