It’s raining on the peninsula. There is a difference between rain and showers out here; with showers we get a little wet but usually luck out with a glint of sun here and there. You don’t cancel your usual walk because of showers, since they happen most days for ten months of the year. I live on a promontory of the peninsula, and when it rains, it storms. We often lose our electricity. I’m fairly well prepared for these events with a kerosene lantern, candles, flashlights and a radio that I can crank to make work. I also know it’s rarely for more than a few hours, so graham crackers with nut butter will do if I get hungry. I know that the computer has about 22 minutes of charge, and my phone will work until however much charge it happens to have at the moment. The winds rock my house and scare the cats, and me too, since I tend to expect an earthquake at every shiver. And, more’s the pity, I’m not at all prepared–not even shoes-by-the-bed prepared.
Many of my neighbors have generators and I hate the sound of them coming on, cutting into the sounds of storm. I’m pretty much a nature lover from windows and when we get storms, I have a great view of the choppy bay and the tall firs and cedars swaying. It’s a mystery to me that they grow so tall and can withstand the winds in this rocky outcrop of land where I can’t get anything to grow in my yard.
I’ve lived in so many different climates and topographies, the US has some of everything. Other than expecting the big one out here, our weather is mild and less fraught than other places I’ve lived–with their episodic hurricanes, water-spouts, ice storms, blizzards, Nor’easters, and of course, wildfires. I’ve only hugged the two ocean coasts, so I’ve never lived through, or seen, a tornado, but I know folks who live in those zones. I also know how much these natural events have been intensified by human hands. I stew over how this is happening to all of us, how the very earth’s crust is changing and making mass human migration inevitable. I worry about my kids who live in Miami, which is already at sea level and going under. I selfishly hope the Cascadia Subduction Zone holds until after I die. The last earthquake that occurred along this fault was about 300 years ago and was estimated as a 9 magnitude.
Funny how I got here. I woke up thinking about the earthquake that just hit Anchorage Alaska, which was a 7 magnitude with all-day aftershocks and how quickly these life-threatening events dissipate on the news “cycle”. Amazingly there were no deaths reported and no tsunami. I was also thinking about how magnitude is reported in logs. I’ve felt a couple of distant 4-5 magnitude quakes; a 7 magnitude is 100 times stronger than a 5; and a 9 would be 10,000 times stronger. Although I’m not sure that magnitude equals strength exactly, so I’ll just think : ten thousand times worse.
But there is still poetry. For now.
Here’s a poem about rain:
Most days, I no longer long
for you. The rain has become
my welcome mat.
I soak clothes and skin in it,
bleach these personal stains,
staunch my body's needs.
I dream in haiku
as it taps at my window
in tart syllables.
Nowhere is it fully documented
how terrifying it is to be me.
originally published in blinded by clouds (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2014)