disaster preparedness

earth picI took today’s photo off the cover of my book because I’m starting to feel like we are living in the story. The other day I suddenly felt an earthquake where no earthquake should be, and now I am waiting to see what the hurricane Irene will do to the eastern seaboard.

My best friend, Rachelle called me up and left me a voice mail saying, “Stop writing! And where’s the nearest safe zone?” It does feel a bit odd as a disaster novelist to be watching this disaster unfold. Always that touch of guilt at having written something for fun that is now being played out for real in all its fear and devastation. When the earthquake happened I had a few seconds of believing the New Madrid fault had let go. In 1811 earthquakes on that fault caused church bells to ring in Boston. I was sitting there, feeling the shaking, thinking this is it! Because, folks, if that happens on the New Madrid, we are talking catastrophic damage.

My son is currently reading Gaia Dreams and he texted me after the earthquake telling me it was like the book. No, we aren’t living out the disasters in my book–not specifically–but it feels like we are having some unusual things happening lately. In truth, natural disasters are happening all the time. Is it so strange that a hurricane would head up the eastern seaboard? No, we’re due.

Here’s the thing about hurricanes–they take forever to happen. I think this is why they cause the most panic and anxiety of any type of disaster, because there are hours and days to think about what is coming. Hours of hearing the same dire warnings on the television. So much time to freak out. So much time to realize we have no control whatsoever over this churning juggernaut of water and wind bearing down upon us.

I did my preparation, storing water in the fridge, finding my flashlight and candles, turning up my freezer and refrigerator so they are both colder than normal, going to the store and buying coffee since I had run out. I can’t imagine sitting through the wind and rain without some coffee! I can only say how thankful I am that I don’t live in one of the areas that will be harder hit. Western Mass will get some wind and rain and maybe a tornado, but it won’t be anything like being in a major metropolis.

When the rain and wind start, that is when you have to dig deep and manage the anxiety. Because it will just go on and on and on. And there won’t be a damn thing any of us can do about it then. Storms like this are always a big giant thump on the head from the planet, reminding us we have no control over the big things in life.

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