The Day of the Earthquake
New Earth by Annie K. Blake
I woke up this morning at 5:15.
Something isn't right.
I couldn't remember exactly what it was.
The thing that makes my jaw clench when I am sleeping, and grind my teeth during the day.
I got up to hear the rain falling hard off my back window. I opened it and listened to the rain for a bit. The entire world was dark gray.
Something is wrong.
I thought again.
Then I remembered--we are living in a global pandemic. We are social distancing--self-quarantined in our house not knowing for how long. How nice of my brain to make me forget for a minute.
I got back in bed and positioned myself against Christopher's chest ("home" I call it) and fell back asleep.
Two hours later I woke up to the sloshy, swervy sensation of being on a boat battered by waves.
I know this.
My heart nearly disregarded it's rib cage. I started to cry and heave.
What is going on?
The girls were still asleep. Anson seemed unphased. CK went back to sleep.
But I couldn't breathe.
I felt like someone had injected lightening into my veins and I was sizzling and seizing with anxious maternal power. It took nearly all day for it to dissipate.
The quake registered as 5.7 big for Utah. However, having been taught growing up that the Wasatch Fault line could collapse at any minute weighted the experience with added panic.
Is this...THE ONE?
Is this the one before THE ONE?
We listened to the recommendations: if we have another quake, remember to keep social distancing protocol during evacuation.
A reminder of a layered, shared trauma.
We filled our bathtub with water, and jugs, and a rain barrel.
We put shoes and coats by our beds.
We pulled our car out of the carport.
We put provisions in the car.
We did a family earth quake drill.
What else was there to do today?
I don't know.
Time is really strange in this space.
Nothing feels right, like the weeks before birth, when everything becomes unknowable or unrecognizable. And definitely uncomfortable. I think it's nesting?
Is that what it is?
A cousin tweets his wife is going into labor amid the aftershocks rippling the valley floor. We send our positive manifestations enough to combat the loneliness of having a baby when the world is turned upside down.
Hours later he updates: IT'S A GIRL!!!
The busy street in front of our house is desolate.
Ever waves at her best friend from across the road.
I am so sorry, I tell her, I wish I could let you play.
How odd that we are doing the work of saving each other from each other.
We pick up flour from a kind stranger who offered her surplus when I tweeted about finding all grocery stores totally cleaned out. I offer to pay for it, but she replies, "Nah... just keep preaching truth."
I end the day with an teeny sensation of hope.
Maybe this is what burning it all down feels like?
Maybe this is the start of a new earth?
A new flicker in the darkness that grows and explodes into--