Then on the Shore of the Wide World

The city was in great panic, neighbors
crushing under neighbors, making a wave
of worry cresting an undercurrent
of resolve, which seemed natural because
in my dream a river marked the landscape
otherwise indistinguishable with snow
and a few pines rising, so a valley
even the city’s mayor was prepared
to walk away from, out to the boats waiting
at the docks. Her eyes pushed past mine, and I knew
the official position wasn’t planned for—
not evacuation but exodus.
I couldn’t name what was coming but felt
the truth …

The Destruction in Nepal Is Sickening

As an American, Here’s What I’m Doing to Help

I was at my house not far from the center of Patan, a city right next to Kathmandu, when the shaking started. It was about noon on Saturday and my …

Why L.A. Needs a Resilience Czar

Anticipating Everyday Environmental Threats Is Just as Important as Recovering from Natural Disaster

For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population lives in urban settings. Urban living offers many attractions–employment opportunities, higher education, entertainment, healthcare, and public transportation. …

I Was Struck by Venice Lightning

My Friends and I Were Relaxing in the Water. Then Our Sunday Afternoon Turned Shocking, Chaotic, and Surreal.

On Sunday afternoon, I was knee-deep in the ocean, right next to the Venice Pier, when the deadly lightning bolt hit the water. This rare bit of weather would kill …

Sipping Espresso After the Big One

How I’ve Prepared My Family and Neighbors for the Inevitable Disaster

As a native Californian, I’ve always accepted earthquakes as part of life here. So I didn’t use to think about them too much. When the Northridge earthquake hit in 1994, …

The Northridge Earthquake Rattled My Marriage

Along with Death and Destruction, the 6.7 Temblor Also Broke Hearts

When the Northridge earthquake struck on January 17, 1994—20 years ago this week—I wasn’t physically injured.

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt. Earthquakes only last a few seconds but can …