Wednesday, October 17, 2012


A Turkish shepherd might smile indulgently at the twittering uncertainties generated by a mild earthquake in the northeastern United States last night, but mild or fierce, I think there is something informative in a shuddering earth.

I was watching a quiz show on TV shortly after seven when, for the briefest of moments, the couch beneath me shook. It was just a little thing, something that might have been generated by a passing freight train that occasionally passes about 200 yards from the house.

But there was something in the shaking, however minuscule, that aroused a thinking before thinking, something that left thought and emotion in the dust, something bright and utterly clear and no-fucking-around ... and before any beard-stroking thought or hand-wringing emotion, there was the unbidden word, "earthquake." Before I knew what it was, I knew what it was. There was no time for surprise or fear or analysis ... I just knew.

There is something useful in knowing that there is a perspective that precedes all the perspectives I may don as most days pass ... something clear as a bell, something that lacks the overlays of thought or emotion, something that doesn't dabble in good or bad or happy or sad, something clean and utterly unencumbered, something through-and-through and completely obvious. Only an idiot would call it elevated or profound.

What a nice bit of advertising ... a bit of reality that shuns the word "reality."

The Turkish shepherd who is more used to a shuddering earth might smile indulgently ... of course life is like this. And the fact was that even an earthquake novice like me could know what he didn't know. Life does not withhold anything from anyone, even an earthquake ignoramus.

It was all over in a nanosecond and I paid it no heed.

I was busy trying (poorly) to answer the quiz show questions.

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