This is a very small earthquake - at least from a distance. Nothing fell, nothing cracked (with the possible exception of me). But it was an unnerving beginning to the day. A day that is heading for 98 degrees. Again. A day where many Missourians are only beginning to come to grips with post-tornadic realities. A day when others are watching the rivers rise. Hell, even the bugs are jumping up and smacking us in the face.
So what greets me when I open up Reader this morning? Kerry Scott telling me my house is on fire. No kidding. And she wants to know what I'd grab as I'm running out.
I actually started to think about it. The pictures are backed up online so I don't need to go for those. All the techy stuff can be replaced. My purse would be a good idea. But a thing - something of personal value or significance? This place is full of things. My grandmother's crocheted pieces. My great-grandfather's powder horn. A wooden goose I loved as girl and now have in my family room. Family silver and china and crystal and rugs. The quilts - I really should grab one of those. The books. My husband might grab one of the etchings from his family. The paintings. I'd probably go up in smoke trying to figure it out.
Months after Hurricane Katrina hit I spent several weeks working with the Red Cross in Mississippi. These things take a LONG time to clean up before anyone can begin to think of rebuilding. On Halloween we drove around cheerfully serving meals and passing out candy to families living in tents, trailers, campers amid the rubble. Cheerful was key. I was cheerful. I wore a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap and bantered with the clients. They bantered back. I even teased one woman who was wearing a Christmas tree pin that she had the wrong holiday. She looked puzzled then glanced down at the pin. "It's the only thing I could find afterwards," she said. I can still see her face.
That's the point. When everything goes up in smoke I'll grab something. Probably whatever thing is nearest the door or window I'm jumping out of. It really doesn't matter what it is because it will be all that's left.
Meanwhile, I'm calling an end to this year. It has, on every possible level, been one for the books. I had high hopes for the rapture a few weeks ago, but that was a bust. No way I'm waiting until October for the next go-round. Time for a new one. I don't think I can actually pull off decreeing that it is now 2012, so from here on out this year is officially 2011.5.
UPDATE - My bumpy wake-up was downgraded to a 3.9 earthquake.