Tuesday, June 15, 2010

cracks in the earth

As a kid, natural disasters fascinated me. I watched a Saturday morning version of Emergency! Called Emergency Plus Four where the firemen were helped out by some kids. Aside from fires and rescues they dealt with natural disasters. Tornados fascinated me the most and 35 years later I still remember dreams I had about them.
Another show had an earthquake. As some kids ran for cover another one told them to stay out in the open. The ground cracked. I wondered if the cracks went all the way to the center of the earth where the devil lived.
I had an old Time magazine with pictures of the 1971 San Fernando quake. On its cover was a speculative picture of the Golden Gate Bridge collapsing in a strong quake.
Then one evening when we were living in Hawaii I was lying on the living room floor watching TV. I felt the ground moving under me as if I was laying the hood of a car with the motor running. My mom saw a swaying plant and declared that we were having an earthquake. I flew into a panic. I jumped up and ran to go outside before the house fell down on me. My mom stopped me. Nothing was happening and it was apparently over. But I hyperventilated myself to sleep that night.
Until then, I had never known that there was such a thing as a minor quake.

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