Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Whole Lotta Shaking....

  1. a series of vibrations induced in the earth's crust by the abrupt rupture and rebound of rocks in which elastic strain has been slowly accumulating.
  2. Something that is severly disruptive; upheaval.

It seems like earthquakes are getting to be more and more common in my life lately.

The first few little tremors were kind of exciting. The subsequent bigger ones made me want to drop everything and run outside screaming.

This is, of course, not what you are supposed to do. If you are inside you should stay inside. If you are outside you should stay outside. Apparently there are some crucial seconds there between being inside and being outside where all hell could break loose. The point is, though, that you're supposed to stick it out where you are.

I suppose that in a really big earthquake your fear comes from the fact you are in imminent danger of having everything around you fall on your head. In the little big earthquakes like I recently experienced, I was pretty sure that nothing was going to fall on my head. In fact, the most perilous physical result of those quakes was the gentle swaying of my hanging plants.

Not scary.

But they scared me all the same.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no chicken. I've purposely chosen to live on a fault line, in a tsunami zone, and , now, inside a supervolcano. But the big crises don't scare me. It's the little ones – the little ones that come along and shake everything up and make me have to look at the world differently without any warning – that make me want to curl up into a little ball.

Big earthquakes change everything. People die. Houses fall down. Communities suffer. And everyone recognizes that there was, indeed, a major catastrophe.

Little earthquakes just shake you up. There are no outward signs. People don't know how they've affected you. Little earthquakes sneak into your own little personal world, give it one big jolt just to remind you that you are, after all, not in control of what's going on, and then leave you to deal with the fact that your world just changed whether you or anyone else can see it or not.

When little things shake you up, you're supposed to get over it quickly.

Luckily, the earthquake swarm seems to be tailing off here in Yellowstone. The shaking, what little there is of it now, is too small to be noticed.

Soon, the earthquakes will just be a good story to tell....and a lesson learned.

Hopefully, I'll be better prepared, and a little less shaken up, when they strike again.


Marianne, aka Ranger Anna said...

Could you arrange for a few, gentle yet distinctive, non-destructive shakes next summer? Just enough for me to recognize the sensation, but not enough to give me a heart attack? Thanks, that will be swell!

Ranger Bob said...

Never felt one until I moved to California at age 22. It is interesting how soon one becomes accustomed to them, yet they remain a powerful reminder that we are part of nature.

MAC said...

3rd grade, remember? Get under your desk and put your phonics book behind your neck.