Saturday, January 26, 2013


Lately, I had a couple of dreams where there's earthquakes. I wake with a jolt, sitting up from bed too quickly as the dream-earthquake must be Intensity 10 and my mind still racked by pseudo-aftershocks. The first dream, I was at the highest floor of a tall building. The ground shaking, everything toppling down as I ran down the fire exit stairs, it felt so real. I wake, walking with dizzy balance as another day starts. I wake up inexplicably tired
I remember two earthquakes last 2012, in February and November. I was in the school both times. From the wide green field, one can see everyone rushing out of buildings. There's an odd silence combined with the low voices of people simultaneously talking about where they were those few seconds when it happened. Everyone's standing in open space, waiting for aftershocks. A water puddle beside where I stand is still rippling. Moments ago, the liquid was spinning and splashing around as if in a storm. 
My classmate had an interesting observation. "Ever noticed that after a quake, the weather turns like this?" she asks. The sky is grey-white and entirely covered in clouds, like its still deciding whether to let it rain or not.Often, it doesn't. The air is somewhere between cold and humid. I reply, "Now that you've mentioned it, I don't recall a sunny earthquake."
I almost memorized everything about earthquakes from an Earth Science textbook. The teacher is carefree and talkative, one who loves to gossip instead of talking about the lessons. He was likable at first-- until you see the exams and his strictness on laboratory reports. Each meeting was a laugh trip, but soon he's enumerating details about his sex life, things I don't care about-- I was so bored and irritated that I tried to block out his babbling by actually reading the textbook in class. See how irritated I was?

I only recall unconnected terms and details. There are three kinds of waves with varying effects on different kinds of matter. To find out the exact epicenter, there must be three seismic stations to calculate the distance in a method known as triangulation. These are easily-forgotten facts and empty names to fill blanks in an exam paper. 

I read about rocks, oceans, volcanic activity, earthquakes, the various things moving and heating up within the earth to change the surface. Mountains flatten, volcanoes erode, continents break, islands grow out of sea, plates collide and mountains arise from the impact. It takes hundreds to billions of years. In our lifetime, the changes are too slow to see. How brief human life is compared to eons in geologic time, the textbook says. I'm not sure how I feel about that-- somewhere between disappointment and relief. Life's too long, but too short all the same.

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