It was a day like any other day for the seaside township called Resilience. It was an idyllic, sunny, late spring day. Kids went to class, adults busied themselves at work and friends caught up for coffee and chatted. Fishing boats navigated their way through the tricky harbor heads in search of their daily catch and slow heavy freight trains trundled past the outskirts of town with loads of coal. All while the little island volcano forty kilometers off-shore puffed away as it reliably did. Not much was different about this particular day.
What was unique about the seaside township of Resilience was that it sat right on top of a tectonic fault line that ran right through the countryside. In actual fact, the main high street where all the folks comfortably sitting in cafés enjoyed their mid-afternoon lattes and scones was build right on top. It wasn’t a secret. Everyone who lived there, knew it existed right beneath their feet, that it traveled passed the public library, alongside the town hall, through the movie theater and pretty much everything else. It was just part of the landscape, part of the agreement of living in this picturesque, quaint seaside township. That was until 3.15PM.
At first it started with a few distant rumbles, followed closely by a couple of sharp jolts. Windows rattled and coffee cups toppled. Then a pause. People looked up from what they were doing to confirm with a friend that it wasn’t simply a big truck that had rumbled past. Then it hit. The ground shook with such an incredible force that it had folks scrambling for cover. Items fell from shelves, furniture toppled and people dived under tables and stood between doorframes to protect themselves. No sooner had people caught their breath, then another wave of rumbles came, immediately followed by a series of jolts that threw people to the ground.
By the time the third earthquake had passed, many people who had earlier been peacefully going about their day, found themselves surrounded by debris and chaos. Buildings had collapsed, windows were shattered, and cracks big enough to drive a truck through had appeared in the ground. Water pipes had burst, spot fires flared up and tsunami sirens blared away. People were disorientated and shocked. The world had literary been thrown up in the air and landed with an almighty crash. Then, as evening started to set in, it started to rain. A heavy rain that continued for three consecutive days that mixed in with the dust and rubble.
Resilience dug deep to pick itself up from the mess. Neighbors pitched in to offer beds and meals for those less fortunate. Friends gathered to clean up the debris. Businesses pitched in to offer their services for free and grocery stores gave perishable food away to those in need and car park BBQ’s sprung up everywhere. Despite the overwhelming chaos, the community of Resilience willingly rallied to support each other. People rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into the muck. As a result, they quickly developed a strong sense of resolve while even managing to crack the odd joke to keep things light when it got tough.
Despite numerous aftershocks over the proceeding weeks, the township of Resilience eventually recovered. For many it was a catastrophe beyond anything that they had ever encountered. A simple loud noise would make someone jump and they would relive their experience. It left people feeling vulnerable and traumatized. Nevertheless, over time, lives and homes were eventually rebuilt. They grew as a community while adjusting to the uncertainty of another earthquake occurring again without warning. Even though many had experienced loss, grief and misfortune, the township of Resilience found the spirit to recover. This was their seaside home and they wanted to remain true to their namesake.
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