Moving Heaven on Earth

The central California coastal region is beautiful. Idyllic, even.

Especially here near Big Sur, it totally lives up to the hype.

Verdant, rolling hills of pastures and vineyards bob and stretch on and on to the horizon. Winding, narrow roads cling to the crinkly faces of ancient mountains that jut and lean and bulge out into the pounding ocean surf.

The constant, cool, wet Pacific breeze smells of fresh brine and makes even this parched land green and lush.

And each evening, yet another stunning California sunset paints the sky with neon hues of orange and strawberry sherbet.

Yet, as we enjoy the abundant beauty of this place, Glenn and I find we are on shaky ground.


Until this stay in California, I’d never experienced an earthquake. Well, to be clear, I still haven’t experienced a serious one. But I have noticed tremors.

So, so many of them.

The foundation of our rolling house comprises four tires and a tongue jack. Perhaps this arrangement amplifies the shaking of the underlying bedrock more than a traditional building. Regardless, the experience for me is strange and unnerving.

I notice it most when all is silent and I am still.

Inside our tiny trailer, my morning reading or writing might be interrupted as I simultaneously hear and feel a hushed, throaty boommmm issue from the ground.

The fleeting incident lacks the violence or drama Hollywood and the national news have conditioned me to associate with earthquakes.

The first time I noticed one, it was so subtle that I wondered if it was my imagination. Following a subsequent shudder I became curious. Professor Google, told me California averages about one magnitude 3 earthquake per day!

The small ones are impossibly more frequent. This handy website shows all the quakes registered by Caltech over the past week.

The data show that there were over 100 quakes yesterday alone! It even included a few sizable ones, as prescribed.

Crazy, right?

Ever the nerd, I charted them in a time series. It shows the earth is seriously on a roll here.

Experiencing the tremors first hand and scrolling through the seismic entries on the Caltech site remind me that the earth is not a passive, inert object.

It is alive in its own way, though it mostly slumbers … for now.

As Glenn and I continue on Haven’s Path we move upon the earth, and I am now more aware that it too moves beneath us.

All life on this exquisite blue space marble exists not because it is a safe, peaceful place made just for us, but because we just happened to show up toward the end of its eons-long rounds of violent, creative destruction.

Our time here on this earthly heaven is fleeting, so we strive to make the most of it and to appreciate another day in paradise.


  1. Awesome sunset! Crazy about the quakes. Didn’t realize there were so many, but it makes sense. The rough surfaced plates constantly in motion, grinding ever so slowly along.

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