Mercury had gone retrograde on Tuesday,

but the earthquake didn’t shake our moorings

until Saturday morning, when we were

sleeping in or sipping coffee or heading

out for a run in the early coolness. At

Richter 5.6, it hardly brought the houses

down, but in a region where earthquakes

are a rather new phenomenon, wrought

perhaps by humans rather than our

natural mother, it was enough to loosen

our grip; to rattle windows, frighten

animals, and set off car alarms.

And then the day turned weird—

machinery went awry, gears slipping,

chains breaking; attempts to communicate

misfired as thoughts shot off into the

skies; restless trees shifted their roots,

and gnomes rushed out into parks

and gardens; the laughing gods

danced a capricious gig. But with the

messenger god tumbling backward,

we cannot run; it is no time for travel.

Nor can we raise an army; it is no time

for action. It is no time to start, but to

hold still, commune with our thoughts,

measure our words with care. We

can only think and plan and worry

and take long naps for solace

until the herald’s fleet-winged feet

propel him forward again and we can act.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper



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