I have not thought of earthquakes for months. It no longer defines me. When I meet new people, I very rarely tell them I was living in Christchurch on February 22nd 2011, when it used to be one of the first things out of my mouth. Sometimes it’s as if I was never there.
But then there was a series of earthquakes in Wellington. The first news report I read transported me right back to the third floor of my then-workplace, where I huddled underneath my desk waiting to fall through collapsed concrete. All my death fears are dancing around me again; I have conjured them out of the fault lines.
People are frightened. Distrusting of the ground they stand on. This is what makes my heart ache the most. No one should feel unsafe, yet this is exactly how you feel when you realise you actually have no control whatsoever over this planet we live on. Suddenly nature is no longer wondrous and good, but something destructive to be feared, something to run from or fight against. I understand this experience deeply. Our world is fragile, uncertain.
Someone has written a good article about earthquake preparedness. I have created my own list below – lessons I am constantly forgetting, forever learning. I thank the shaky earth for being my teacher.
- We have this moment. Let’s enjoy it.
- Always savour goodbyes. Linger in embraces. Speak love aloud.
- Our bodies and instincts can be trusted. We are wiser than we know.