I dreamed of an earthquake.

The ground shook and I pitched side-to-side, watching for falling things. Finally, the whole house collapsed. I guess the quake was a volcano erupting, because when the house fell on its side it was swallowed by lava or some thick tar.

I miraculously survived, being lucky enough to have chosen a location that ended up at the top, above the raging black river. I had the fortitude to ride out the fall with sea legs and cautious eyes.

My immediate family members had also miraculously survived. Afterward, I hugged my brother and we laughed with the kind of absurd giddy laughter that can only follow tragedy, recounting how we’d spent our last minutes before losing everything at a bookstore — buying books we instantly lost.

Everything and everyone (except for a precious few) was buried under now-solid earth. The surface was oddly smooth. We had nothing, but we were grateful for life.

A professional lifelong learner.