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Exerpt from Sarah Fawn Montgomery
Reframing the Storm
When the time came for me to begin my work on a PhD, I uprooted again, packed my things in cardboard boxes, by now soft and slopping from so many moves, and drove the 1,700 miles from California to Nebraska where I planned to unpack and start over. This move, this place would be more permanent. I felt both a sense of relief and a sense of panic at the thought that I'd be in one place for too long. I felt trapped, cut off. I could not live in one place without feeling listless and anxious, like there was something happening somewhere else, something better, something more I should or could be doing. This feeling is not uncommon—we spend our lives listless, restless for something we do not know and cannot find, moving about in vain as we search for something we can't quite describe, deaf to anything but our ambition.
I had no choice but to listen to the land the first time it stormed, however. The sky was racked with light, rain, and then hail struck the ground with violent force, and I was terrified. In California there was no weather like this. Climate was predictable, tides rhythmic like the body, marine layer fog the only concern and then only for picnicking tourists and eager surfers. The weather had no impact on my day-to-day living. While there was rain, it came just a few times a year, and earthquakes, those catastrophic events that destroyed other places, were hardly a threat at all, just a faint rumble from the earth's belly, the sound stifled by layers of concrete and glass.