I don't usually go in for those personal this-morning-I-walked-the-dog posts. But, this morning I was awakened by the strongest earthquake I'd ever experienced. I was in San Diego in 1970 when a bad one hit Los Angeles. I was in Rome a few years ago when a pretty big one damaged Assisi and parts of Umbria. But nothing was like what I felt last night. CNN is reporting that at least 2 have died; the Italian TV news has it up to 20 already.
It was the middle of the night when I heard my second daughter, the 9-year-old cry out. I couldn't understand why the whole house was shaking for a few seconds. When my sleep-addled brain clicked on to the realization of what was happening, I felt a kind of fear and powerlessness that I've rarely felt. Then it was over.
I stayed with my daughter, who couldn't easily get back to sleep. My wife and mother-in-law went to the TV. As I was falling back to sleep, I was reflecting on how the things I spend most of my time worrying about become unimportant in the face of something like this. Today I feel grateful to be alive. I feel happy and optimistic. There's nothing like a natural disaster, or a near encounter with one, to make me appreciate what I have.
Now, back to our regular programming.