Earthquakes and Hurricanes

I don’t mean to glom on to the frenzy regarding natural events of late, but it’s not every week in Pennsylvania that we get both an earthquake and a hurricane. And I did the first draft of this on a yellow tablet, hand written, while the wind was gusting. It just seemed like the thing to write about – including my teenager’s incredulous face when she asked how it was possible to blog on a tablet. A real paper tablet.

I can’t complain. As of this moment my family is safe and the house is still standing. My smugness over having a generator has been crushed, however. Sometime in the middle of the night, I got up to go to the bathroom and realized the power was out, and I didn’t hear the annoying but reassuring grunt of the generator. Damn. We have a generator for two reasons: to keep all the harvest stuff in the freezer frozen and to keep my coffee addiction safe and in tact. Only later in the morning did I realize that the generator also kept the water running (now I understand why they tell you to fill up a bathtub with water if you think you’re going to be without power!). I realize that I miss washing my hands.

Again, I have nothing to complain about, only to observe. I think about all the people who have truly lost everything due to either a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, fire or war. My heart goes out to them. I can live a few days without toilets that flush. I think about what I would miss most if I lost everything. Of course my family most of all – and loved ones. But after that, there is not much that truly matters except for one thing that would hurt like hell – losing all my journals and unpublished writings, including a memoir that will probably never see the light of day while I’m alive. And in that little quiet moment, I realize that of all the things I do in my life, I probably define myself as a writer more than any other thing. I guess that’s why I keep blogging even when things get hectic and hard. Writing grounds me.

But I stopped my tablet writing for a moment because my teenager asked me to play cards with her (I mean, how often does that happen?!). The natural light on her face was beautiful as we played solitaire together (a future blog post, for sure!). We talked about the fact that the hardest part of loosing power was not knowing what was going on anywhere else – feeling disconnected from the rest of the world.

“The world could have ended,” she said, “and everyone could have died. And here we are playing cards.” She shrugged. We played four games. I won.

But the world didn’t end, thankfully. And other than the power outages and downed trees, everything turned out ok. The only thing we really lost was a few days connected to the rest of the world through energy sucking gadgets. But I would miss that if we lost it for good. I like being connected. I think we all do.

If you lost everything, what would you miss most?

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4 Responses to Earthquakes and Hurricanes

  1. Suzanne Nordstrom September 2, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Maria, you are such an inspiration. I know what you mean by journaling keeps you grounded. I love you and your writing. Keep up the good work!

  2. Mary Ann September 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Maria, we are not far from you in the NEPA area, and we also were without electricity and water….but no generator. After 3 days without I can tell you the thing I missed the most…WATER. I’m sure you didn’t mean it in that context, as I like being connected also. But I felt like a pioneer there for awhile, hawling water in and out and running to my sisters to shower. Upsets me even more when I think that all this fracking can upset my water supply.

  3. erin September 3, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    On Sunday, when we lost power at noon, I actually felt a few hours of immense relief when I realized that there was nothing to do but lay on the couch with a good book, with my kids all over me like warm, drapey, living blankets, and no sounds other than those of voices. It was such a nice feeling to be in our little cocoon for a while. Of course after about 5 hours I started to panic a little at the thought of the food in my freezers thawing, but it was still frozen solid when the power came back on at 8:00 PM. Joy! But boy, those few hours of peace; exquisite!

  4. Judy C. September 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    The only “thing” that I would miss losing is my faith in God and the hope that the world will become more kind, loving, and peaceful. Some days, Maria, I do feel that we are in a “quake” that might totter these. But, I keep clinging.

    Right now, where I live, there are very bad storms. We are coming off a September that started with a heat index of 105 – -and we live in the Midwest. I am saddened that so many people doubt that climate change is happening. Even sadder to me is that “religious belief” has been “hi-jacked” for a political agenda. I mourn the loss of moderation in all things…Yes a moderate climate would be great to return to… but the lack of moderation shown by our political and religious leaders is even scarier to me than a wickedly fierce hurricane, tornado or earthquake. Extremism shakes more than our nation’s material foundations.

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