The San Francisco Bay area was hit by a strong earthquake this morning, well, halfway through the night at 3:20 AM while most of us were in bed. I woke up wondering what was happening and found myself lying in a bed that seemed to glide gently back and forth as if a giant mother was trying to soothe a child by rocking its baby carriage. The movement seemed to last for several minutes, but it surely was less than one minute. Then everything stopped. There was no sound inside or out, no dishes falling off shelves, no books shaken out of bookcases, and no one in the street raising an alarm. I turned over and eventually drifted off to sleep.
We were lucky this time, but no one knows when the “big one” might hit the area and destroy lives as well as property.Later, of course, the news came about greater damage in the city of Napa as well as injuries, although most of them not very serious. It seems as though the only upside to a natural disaster is that it reminds us that the “disasters” we often spend our time complaining about are pretty trivial.
All week I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because my computer broke down. Not only did I have to wait to get repairs and new parts, I also had days of worry about whether I had lost any of my precious files. Yes, I make backups, but I always worry that I could have forgotten some, or that my backups would be corrupted.Yesterday I finally did get my computer back and all the files had been copied on a new hard drive. Life is back to normal and I can get back to work on my book—the second volume of the Charlotte Edgerton mystery series. If only all problems had such good resolutions.
The earthquake was a reminder of how many real disasters—ones affecting hundreds of other people and not just me—are lurking on the borders of our lives. Nature’s indifference to human beings, the constant stream of droughts, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes is a never ending source of disaster. Add to that the human disasters of wars and violence and it’s easy to see what a dangerous world we live in. The only hope is to try to keep our own troubles in perspective, focus on our work, and help other people when disasters hit them. We can all summon courage to face the future and its disasters if we keep in mind what Abraham Lincoln said: The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. And anyone can cope with just one day.