22 July 2012

Little Earthquakes

For the record, one does not attend a major Midwestern US university in the mid-90s and NOT hear of the singer/songwriter Tori Amos.

As it was with me.  I even bought a few of her cds...one of my favorites being titled "Little Earthquakes".  However, today's blog post is not so much a review/rambling about that album, as it's about the reason why, today of all days, I am thinking of a indie musician's album title.

Geologically speaking, we know the earth changes daily.  It shifts, it spins, it elongates...this giant blue oval in space.  We can no more control it than we can control the sun (as much as we might try, however).  Every so often, our planet is rocked by cataclysmic movements...in the form of earthquakes.  People die, buildings topple, and lives change forever.

While these earthquakes can't really be prevented, many of the world's population choose to live in areas where they are less likely.  Less likely, but not impossible...and certainly not immune to "little earthquakes"...little tremors, little rumblings, little movements.  And while those little earthquakes don't completely upheave our lives...they leave their mark.  A tree dies, a hill crumbles, a landscape quivers.  Etc, etc, yes?

Two recent events in and around my neck of the woods turns this geological fact into a powerful metaphor.

Over a week ago, two young girls (roughly my youngest son's age) in a small town about two hours from here were riding their bikes from their grandmother's house...but they never reached their destination.  Family, volunteers, police, and even the FBI have been searching for these girls, to no avail.  Now classified as an "abduction", the search for the girls now involves questioning of suspects and alibis.  And as it goes with missing child cases, the more time that elapses, the more unlikely it is the girls will remain alive.

And of course, the second event, the one receiving an enormous amount of media right now, is the Aurora, CO movie theater shootings.

To me, these events are "little earthquakes".  Because of where I live, my involvement in these events is merely that of removed bystander.  However, despite that, they will certainly leave their mark on me.

The two occurrences provide a nearly imperceptible shift in my landscape.  I hang on to my children a little tighter these days (how can I not?).  I grow a shade more cynical about people and their motives (how can I not?).  I ponder the scary possibility that no matter how "right" I try to live, I can't prevent harm from befalling the people I love.

And suddenly the question of how then, shall I live? seems to have an unnerving urgency that wasn't there before.

How then, indeed?


  1. Appreciate the good times, savor the present.

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