Today I Will Be . . . At Fault

Or maybe I’ll be fautless. It all depends on how the day goes.

I’m smiling as I write this, hoping you find my pun as groaningly amusing as I do. The truth is, a couple of friends and I are going on a trip to look for the San Andreas Fault. It’s not as simple a matter as it might seem. Apparently, there is no giant crack in the earth. According to the San Andreas Fault website (yep, the SAF as it is so affectionately called, has its own website): “The SAF has not had a major ground-rupturing earthquake since 1906. Virtually all traces of the ‘giant crack in the ground’ that so many people image the SAF to be have been erased. Erosion fills and covers the fault, plows and bulldozers reshape the surface, roads and neighborhoods are built on the fault. The actual surface trace of the fault is subtle. What one has to look for are the land forms that the plate motion has created.”

Really? Neighborhoods are built on the fault? I suppose it makes sense — that would have been the last bit of available land in many places, and probably relatively cheap, such as all the trailer parks that were build on flood plains and in tornado alleys.

Even though a “big one” is expected sometime this century, you don’t have to worry about my being swallowed up by an earthquake. According to a publication called Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country, “A popular literary device is a fault that opens during an earthquake to swallow up an annoying character. But unfortunately for principled writers, gaping faults exist only in novels. The ground moves across a fault during an earthquake, not away from it. If the fault could open, there would be no friction. Without friction, there would be no earthquake.”

So, not only will I not fall in, I can’t use that idea for a story, which I’d actually thought of doing.  Still, if I disappear, you will no where to find me.  Hmmm. “No where” instead of “know where?” I thought it apropros, so I left in the typo. I hope it’s not a portent for the day.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.