Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rockin' Christmas

Now I know we pray for God to "stir up" during the season of Advent, but this is getting a bit ridiculous around here! We've had four earthquakes rumble our tiny apartment in as many days--one this morning (3.5), two last night (3.7 and 2.2), and one two days ago (3.7)! All of them coming from the same spot on a fault that's about three miles from here (and six miles below the surface).

When we first moved out here I was very anxious about earthquakes. Since then, for the most part, I have loved every single one. I've been amazed at how different each one feels from the other. The first earthquake I ever felt, about two years ago, was as if the earth sighed. Another one felt like a shudder. Another was more of a harumph. And there was one that was just a loud bang and a settle, as if we just dropped a foot in our height above sea level.

The other evening when we felt our first 3.7 quake, Monk and I whooped and hollered and gave each other a high five. It is an amazing thing, a transcendent thing to feel the earth move--this all-too-solid foundation that I grew up thinking we could count on it staying put. The bedrock of the East Coast fills you with false expectations. But the temblors of the West Coast remind you that nothing stays the same!

Our second 3.7, at nearly 11 pm last night, was enough to draw me out of bed. I had to put my hand on Monk's bedroom door to stop it from swaying. That one brought tears to my eyes for the first time--a shock of fear moved through me, maybe because we were in bed and everything is supposed to feel safe then. But also because I experienced last night's quake as being utterly indifferent to us, having nothing at all to do with us. I felt for the first time the dispassionate and fantastically destructive potential pent up in the earth below me. I knew last night that it's release, however violent and life-changing for me personally, would not take me or anyone I loved into account. We don't matter in the least to this earth below me.

This morning the same fault shook itself again, measuring a less vociferous but certainly undeniable 3.5. We were able to take this one in stride again, but I'd be lying if I said we weren't getting a bit anxious about all this earth upset.

So I think I'll hold off on some of these Advent prayers and skip ahead a day or two to the more peaceful, silent night variety. And I admit to wishing for a good old fashioned East Coast White Christmas more than our West Coast rockin' one.

1 comment:

Revem said...

I'm green with envy. One of my goals in life is to experience an earthquake.