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Even the Ground Shakes Beneath Your Feet

As I stood outside our home in Santa Monica yesterday after the earthquake, having apparently done exactly the opposite of what I was supposed to do, which is stay inside, find something heavy like a desk or a dining table, and crawl beneath it in case a rain of debris comes down on you ("Think air pockets," a friend said later), I realized that life in California really is more uncertain than in some other places. I watched my next door neighbor run out of his house and look up at it, seemingly stunned, apparently waiting for it to collapse, I heard my other neighbors' teenage daughters yelling, "Did you feel that?" and I thought, my heart beating fast, God, it's true, anything can happen in life. Life can change in one instant. It can be over in one instant. Whatever I have left of it, I have to live it. Then I went back inside with the dog, feeling almost embarrassed by my thoughts; I had just had a cliched moment of epiphany. I smiled at myself; now don't go around telling people you've just realized that life is short, I warned myself. But the feeling didn't go away -- for several minutes afterward I could still feel my heart pounding, and all day it was like I'd been socked in the chest, woozy and weak and vulnerable, and when I walked around my neighborhood I was almost surprised to see everything as it was and and had always been; it was like things were different somehow, but were not. When my husband came home in the afternoon we hugged longer than we usually do; friends and family emailed and called, making sure I was okay; and later, as I lay in bed, I thought I could still feel tremors in my heart.

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Earth moves

As I felt it shake, somehow I was less frightened than in the past. I remember my loved one, who, when I say "life is short"...he always replies "life is long" ...and he goes about his business in a peaceful, happy way. I'm always amazed by it. Different perspectives.