I once stood atop a mountain in the middle of an earthquake. I grasped at loose gravel as it cascaded by, looking for anything that could hold weight. I grabbed at roots, rolled out of the way of boulders, and finally just threw up my hands and went for a ride. Bruised and bloody at the bottom, I learned.
Always bet on gravity in a fight.
I climbed to the top of another mountain not too long ago and paid $16.00 to see the view. I was surprised to find that landslides fade over time but still leave their scars. The trees at the top were dwarfed and gnarled, resiliency in the wake of strong winds. I went as high as I could and squinted my eyes. I could see my best friend's house, I could see the ends of the earth. But I don't know why they ever called it flat.
I picked up a tiny pebble, swallowed it whole and made my way down from the mountain.
So now I have a touchstone. A hard piece of gravel in my gut. Tough enough to survive the quake. Soft enough to withstand the winds.