today my house fell into the water. the pacific ocean.

the last month has been saturated with persistent rains and insistent waves and northern california seems to be preparing for the apocalypse. the rains had been degrading our cliff below our house and we would watch daily as different pieces of the thing would deteriorate and drop in school-bus sized chunks, sub-audio plops onto the beach some seventy feet down.


i went to karate at 8am. i got back at 9:30. it was warm and i opened the door to let in some of the rare sunlight. in the garage my cats were interpreting as i moved boxes around and painted and heard a noise to the side of the house like someone kicking something and i thought it impossible that there was someone there and i opened the door to see the ocean; the cliff was breaking away from the earth, so fast, deep, and moving toward me like a huge anti-matter snake and the dirt was peeling away as if there was someone underneath the lip of the cliff pulling at it like a carpet or a tablecloth. the ground was finally falling out from under the house.

i stood there and the cliff slid toward me 6 feet in as many seconds (i stood there and forced myself to count as remedy to panic... "One... Two... Three.."), like an enormous predator, enough to convince me it was time to move more than just my eyebrows. grabbed the cats. jumped out garage door. lisa was sitting in the middle of the living room talking on the phone.. i told her to get out of the house. she did, leaving the phone bouncing on the carpet. and we stood out in the front of the house and waited and wondered and watched as the wind blew a little. and we heard the ocean and the entire world seemed very blue and very, very still.

5 minutes passed. i don't think we said a word. we heard a Thud, or so it seemed.

there were things in there that were ours. i didn't want them in the ocean. i thought of a few paintings i had and a couple of books full of careful notes. i put the cats in a nearby paper grocery bag. i asked lisa what she wanted.

"my armoire!"
she wasn't joking. it was a family heir-whatever and it loomed 3m tall.
"no, no.. smaller" i demanded. there seemed no time for words even though we'd been standing there rapt for what was, i'm sure, many minutes.
"okay," she said, "the bed - it's from the 1800s"

that razorblade.opportunity to really part with everything; have you ever been shoved away, and as you spin from your delicately collected world, out of control in a very gentle and weightless way, you know you only have one hand and one minute to clutch at your possessions? it's very lively, if i can use the word; "i have a small moment to take out of my house the handful of the most important items i own." no time for reflection it's grab grab stash run and hope the damn house doesnt groan and angle under your puny weight and crush you under the rotting saturated cliff and into the hungry, grey sea below.

how often are you forced to define your world, really?

the moment was gone replaced with the neighbors and the newspapers and the cops and the idiocy of panic and all the hubbub left lisa and i in a whirlwind of good.intentioned traffic to move everything out as the neighbors were tossing armfuls of Things into boxes that had appeared from nowhere and The City Officials told us we had less than 90 minutes to get everything out and it was a matter of mass not quality and while we didnt have to select we did have to choose. things were left behind, but thanks to the kindness of the people that lived near us it wasn't much.

the three old women that lived next door weren't as lucky. their house fell, too, but most of their belongings went with it. either they had too much stuff or else the neighbors either didn't like them much. anyway, they had lived there longer.