Inyo National Forest, California

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For decades, it seemed as if the meteorologists and the milk+bread sellers were in “cohoots” prior to a big storm. Days ahead of time, local newscasters harp on being prepared. Water, batteries, snacks. Everyone admonishing everyone else to get out there and get milk and a loaf of bread.

Living in California for 14 years taught me alternatives for preparing for potential disaster. Rather than days of warnings, earthquakes came seemingly un-announced.  (unless you watched animals’ behavior change just prior..)  Always have bottled water, canned goods and a very well-stocked pantry. Use the hot water heater tank’s water in a pinch. And nobody really talked about “what-if”, not really. Sometimes folks would joke about “earthquake weather”. It felt more like a mass version of geologic amnesia. Didn’t anyone read John McPhee’s “Assembling California”?

Over a decade later since moving back to the east coast to help care for elderly parents, that chapter is now over and I’m planning a move away for the last time.  But the “we’re doomed” local broadcast television news messages that create such a heightened sense of urgency and rachet up stress – seem so overdone. Are we all such sheep?

Preparing for any storm, much less an historic one, is prudent and wise. Tomorrow I’ll venture out into the Saturday crowds and get bottled water, peanut butter and jelly to have simple sandwiches by candlelight if the power goes out.

The thing is, when living on the west coast not knowing a major earthquake was imminent, and being bombasted for days about an impending storm here on the east coast? I’ll take the known unknowns there or wherever in the west I make my next home.

Forested road Redwood NP



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