Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just A Dot

Oregon is not known for large earthquakes. When St. Helens wakes, some areas of the Northwest do feel a little shimmy and shake. I have felt four such shakes since living here. The first I happened while at a friend's home. I felt that something, such as a dog, had brushed past me. An alert crossed the TV screen that indeed we had an earthquake. On returning home, we found that most of our good crystal had fallen from a ledge in the cabinet breaking into a pile of glistening glass.

The third I felt was at the coast sitting in a restaurant watching the ocean as we ate. This time I felt that someone had bumped my chair. The woman behind me turned and looked at me. I mentioned that I thought we had an earthquake at which point everyone around us began to tell what they had felt. Indeed, the mighty earth had taken time to do a little shaking far out in the blue Pacific.

Small shakes. We are not the hunted. We are not the animal fighting daily against man and nature just to survive. But just a few seconds of the earth trembling, and we are reduced to ants trying to hold fast to a trembling leaf.

Life is fairly dependable. We go through each day taking all of the basics for granted. We kiss our loved ones good-bye in the morning and head off to work. We go home to a friendly meal, a warm bath and bed. But when Mother Earth decides to have a little activity, our world is suddenly shaken, not just literally.

When experiencing the last earthquake, I was at work. Suddenly, everyone was standing looking out the large windows facing the building across the street. We swayed back and forth. Back and forth. In spite of what we knew about earthquake safety, we froze, held fast by the swaying building and our fear. I felt much smaller that day and suddenly vulnerable. I felt this huge ball we live on shudder like someone shaking a snow globe. Buildings swayed to a rhythm unheard in a deafening silence.

I wanted to cry because it frightened me. I was fascinated and terrified. I hope I never become immune to reality of the immense power of this earth. Because of these experiences, I do feel smaller. Bigger in knowledge but somehow smaller....just a dot in this magnificent, powerful universe.

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