I had just returned from the grocery store and other various errands.
I was helping my daughter make a sandwich in our kitchen when I noticed an extremely loud rumbling.
Immediately I rose to look out the front dining room window - as it sounded like a large truck was in my driveway.
Or so that was the first explanation my adult mind rationalized.
But no -
There was no truck.
The roar grew louder.
The window panes rattled.
The house shook.
More and more violently.
I stood frozen.
Looking around the house...
My mind actively worked to solve the mysterious problem -
"What is happening?"
What is the logical explanation?
There must be one.
I wandered slowly about the kitchen.
According to my daughter's recount I muttered over and over -
"What is happening? I don't understand."
Eventually it sounded like something was exploding upstairs.
My daughter shouted - "Something is upstairs."
But I stood silent.
I responded to her...
"It's coming from below. It must be in the basement."
With that, I began to run halfway down the stairs.
Suddenly, my husband appeared in the foyer -
I heard him shout,
"It's an earthquake! Go outside now!"
I looked around to find numerous pictures falling from my walls.
Decorations tumbling from my fireplace mantle.
Our pantry food falling to the floor.
As we ran outside -
I remember my confusion.
As I stepped onto our patio - I stopped briefly -
I scanned the ground.
Watched my backyard.
Would it crack?
I didn't know.
This was out of my realm of comprehension.
My daughter began to cry for her kitten inside the house.
At that moment - I was jolted to the reality that Son #3 was not home.
In fact, I had no idea where he was specifically.
Other than the fact that he was running the neighborhood on his bikes with his friends to the pool and other places.
And then I felt scared.
I began to cry.
"I don't know where he is!"
As we ran into our yard, I watched the shrubs shake.
My car shook in the driveway.
Neighbors began exiting out of their front doors.
Running toward the center of the street to check their own experience with another.
Questioning their own thoughts and conclusions.
After we had all agreed that it clearly was an earthquake -
Two cars pulled into a driveway one house away from mine.
The elderly neighbor was making his way into his home -
to find himself being shouted at,
"Excuse me! Excuse me, Sir! Were you there? I 've been following you. Did you feel our cars? Did something happen? What was going on? Did I hit you? Did you hit me?"
I shouted down to them -
"It is an earthquake."
Suddenly she lunged forward and threw her arms around the 80 something stranger.
She seemed afraid.
Reaching out to the closest thing to her.
She had followed him to his home all the way from the Safeway.
Because she was confused.
The shaking of their cars was nonsensical to her.
She followed him home. Looking for the answer to her experience.
Two hours later my children returned home from school.
They were long hours as we were unable to reach anyone with the phone lines busy and down.
They proceeded to share the stories of the adults and teachers going into a state of confusion.
Some in a fog.
They described their reaction - "Deer in headlights."
But each of their stories seem to ring out and announce the quick response of our children.
While the reasonable, problem solving adults - stood perplexed.
Frozen in their thoughts.
Lost in their direction.
Unsure of how to lead.
Without a logical explanation for their confusion.
Dismissing the children's analysis.
Just as I had.
Someone must be doing construction.
Working on the roof.
Running sprints in the gym.
My husband even admitted he thought the washing machine had gone awry with too many towels.
Son #3 busted through the door with his account of the earthquake.
He had been at his friend's house. They were having lunch.
As soon as the rumbling began, they shouted
I heard story after story that reiterated this theme.
Children drawing an immediate conclusion that it was an earthquake.
While the adults - stood still.
This experience made me realize...
Children believe in the unbelievable.
Children believe that anything is possible.
They don't practice boundaries.
Their minds don't reject something immediately due to it's impossibility.
Children just believe their own feelings.
Children trust their own instincts.
We've lost that.
We look for the reason.
Because we can't imagine anymore.
I heard the adults on the news...
"Earthquakes just don't happen here."
Therefore it didn't register for us.
We didn't believe. We were stunned with confusion.
But our children?
Well they've never experienced an earthquake either.
But the impossibility was never in question.
In their minds -
Why couldn't it be an earthquake?
There was something refreshing to me about that train of thought -
That my children were believers in the impossible.
That they could accept something fantastic in a Hollywood minute.
What happened to that person inside of me?
Rather than be caught up in the fantastic -
I was trapped in explaining the reality.
But the truth is
Yesterday the reality was fantastic.
"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of FANTASY has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking." ~ Albert Einstein