Monday, September 7, 2009

I Know What Rain Clouds Look Like

(Pre-Script: In order to properly shake things up, this post must be read as the song,"Everybody's Changing," #56 on the playlist, plays in the background, so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

They are flat on the bottom.
You can be in the middle of the grayest, cloudiest day, but if you look up and the clouds are not flat on the bottom, it's not going to rain. I have heard talk of earthquake weather:
"This looks like earthquake weather" I'm sure that on the east coast, they say things like "This looks like hurricane weather," and in the Midwest they probably say things like "This looks like tornado weather." In Hawaii and Pompeii, they probably say, "This looks like Volcano weather; like I have TIME to for instant petrification today. Like I WANT my eggs perfectly preserved so that generations from now can dig us up and see that I only had time to make hard boiled eggs and bread for dinner. GOSH."
But I live in California, and can assure you that I have never felt an earthquake on a day when anyone has said to me "this is earthquake weather." The earthquakes I remember have happened when no one ever expected them, when no one was thinking about earthquakes, when everyone was busy living their sure, safe lives, and no one was giving the sky a second glance.
In elementary school, I learned the drill. When an earthquake hits, get under a table, under your desk, stand in a doorway. Earthquake drills happen twice each school year so that kids and teachers know exactly what to do should an earthquake so rudely disrupt their learning process. Such earthquake readiness knowledge is poured into the minds of the youngest, most easily shaken residents of the state that has a tendency to shake like it's doing the Cha Cha from time to time. But then when the actual earthquake hits, you stand around looking at each other.
By the time it occurs to you where you are supposed to go, what you are supposed to do, the earthquake is over.
The last earthquake I experienced was about 4 years ago. I had just put my children to bed. The earthquake started, and I looked at my husband. I think I said something like "we're having an earthquake" this thought alone was solid. Every other thought was instantly liquefied, and poured out both ears as quickly as the hot melted lava poured out of Mt. Vesuvius that fateful night as it watched over the inhabitants of Pompeii circa 70AD.
I think I walked from one child's bedroom doorway to the other, wondering if I was supposed to pick the children up and carry them outside or just stand there or what. In the end, my just stand there reflex proved to be the stronger urge. And then it was over.
When an earthquake is over, It is not always over, there are aftershocks, and you stand there and say "Oh, that must have been an earthquake," because it shocks you, catches you completely off guard, every time. Then you or the person nearest you says something like, "Turn on the news, let's see how big it was."
You check for damage and knocked over shelves and knickknacks. If anything needs rearranging, you rearrange, you straighten yourself out, you tuck the kids back in bed reassuringly.
You brush yourself off.
You blink.
You blink again.
At least that is what I did last time.
It was only after all of this that I knew that I had been shaken my core, to the core of my belief and all I thought I held so carefully, and oh, how easy I had been to shake! How heavily fell the knowledge that I am only in charge of so very little! So I hold the little I have in my hand openly, and I hold my palm up towards the sky. When the first drop of rain hits, I fling back my head, open wide my mouth, and stick out my tongue to catch it.


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