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I’ve always been afraid of earthquakes. This is a rational fear. As a Californian, the experience is inevitable. No matter how well you prepare, even with so many childhood school drills…you never feel quite ready.

Likely because earthquakes are largely unpredictable.

Sure, there are studies showing patterns and trends that give some level of predictability… like looking at the history of movement in a region, detecting where pressure is building along fault lines.

But we never really KNOW when the ground beneath us will decide to shake.

I guess my biggest fear is that it will happen while I am alone. Currently living on my own for the first time in my life, the chances of this fear realizing have increased. There are moments at night in between dreams that it grips me. What would I do if “The Big One” hit? What would be my route of escape? Would I have enough food/water? If trapped, would I have the courage and strength that survivor stories are made of?

Panicked, the scenario continues to expand beyond my walls:

When will it be enough? How will I pay all these bills? Where is home really? Will I ever be a mom? How can I take care of my parents later?  Are soul-mates found or created? Am I doing any of this right?

Tremors build into quakes, full-on quakes. Rolling and rumbling, uprooting some things and bringing others down… to pieces.

There may be some indicators. Perhaps with more mindfulness, the climbing pressure could be sensed, diffused in some way. The ground could remain steadied for some time longer.

But, with time, the floor beneath our feet will do what it needs to. And, when it does, what is there to do?

Nothing more than this: find sturdy support for protection, have a small prayer on the lips, and just ride it out.

[image: Caltech, Pasadena]

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