An Earthquake Puts Things in Perspective

Mar 14, 11 • LifeNo Comments

While on my computer before going to bed Thursday night, my husband came to my workroom door and asked if I had heard about the earthquake in Japan.  I quickly turned on the news and watched in silent shock as an aerial view documented the path of the tsunami as it decimated the Japanese countryside.  As a leaf might travel down the gutter of my street in a rain storm, this wall of water swept houses, vehicles, trees and unfortunate people that either didn’t know it was coming or couldn’t determine which direction to travel.  I watched cars driving right into the path of the oncoming wave and I called out for them to turn around and go the other way, all the while understanding that you can’t outrun a tsunami once it’s there.

I sat and watched from my chair, glued to the TV.  The emotions I felt was much like when I watched the news of the airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers…the difference is that this was natural disaster in contrast to a terrorist act, but I couldn’t seem to pull myself away.  As the news coverage progressed, I learned more of the magnitude of the earthquake and the destruction in other parts of the country. My heart ached for the people of Japan.  It is where my husband served a two-year Mormon mission.  He had been to these places and loved the people.  As prepared as anyone could be, how can you prepare for this?

It didn’t take long before a news flash from our Emergency Broadcast System put out a tsunami warning for the West coast of the United States.  I put out text messages and emails for friends that live close by the beach, called my daughter and posted on Facebook.  It is amazing that something so far away could possibly affect our neighborhood in such a few hours.

I didn’t get much sleep that night.  After I got Tom off to Seminary, I got dressed and headed toward Torrey Pines.  The area where I parked was elevated, so I didn’t worry about being in danger in case the ripple arrived to our area.  Although it was early on a Friday morning when I figured that everyone would be off to work, I wasn’t alone – dozens of other people came to watch, but it was quiet.  It felt a little weird, standing there, watching the waves, with occasional glimpses of the horizon through the fog.  It would have been more constructive time spent if I could have gone for a walk on the beach, but the lifeguards would have none of that.  In the end, the cars left and I went home with not so much what I would consider a sizable wave.  It had not arrived to our shore that day.  

Spending the morning at the shore by myself gave me some time to be alone with my thoughts.  I pondered about how unpredictable life is, how things can change drastically from one day to the next.  We are all subject to the uncertainties that come with mortality.  Just the day before, I had been working on a schedule for my blog, making a mental list of what sorts of subjects I would address in the upcoming days:  recipes that I have tried and want to pass on, art projects I have in the works, funny things…random stuff. 

In light of the catastropy in Japan, and the recent disasters in other areas of the world, I might pass off my blog and what I blog about as insignificant, at least if this was the total sum of my life.  But it isn’t – blogging is something I enjoy doing.  My family (and sometimes my friends) get to enjoy the things I cook…I just make sure to take pictures of the steps if I think it would be helpful – sometimes I even share the recipe!  My family is grown, so forcing them to be patient while I take pictures of the food before they eat is not an unreasonable request…at least I don’t think so.  I have been preserving my family memories with scrapbooking for years; many of the layouts and cards I make are for publication, but sometimes I do it just for fun.  

There are so many things that I like to do or want to try. When things strike me as interesting, I investigate, test and if I like them, I share.  I think that is the main reason I like to blog…I like to share. 

Nothing major will change if I do or do not post about the delicious breakfast muffins that I just tried or that I bought my first bottle of real maple syrup for the first time.  It isn’t something that will affect people all over the world.  Tonight, and in the days to come, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the recent rumblings of the earth.  It’s a human emotion to hope that I never find myself in similar circumstances, but reality is that we here in Southern California are waiting for “the big one” to hit.  The best I can do is to try and be prepared.  You can’t anticipate every sort of emergency that might possibly happen since there are variables involved.  People all over the world have their own types of disasters to prepare for.  But as Miss Scarlet said as Rhett Butler walked out the door:  “Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow…After all…tomorrow is another day.”

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