wait a moment

In which the earth moves.

We get earthquakes fairly regularly* but not like this. Thanks to the instant news cycle, I’ve been getting calls and e-mails asking if we’re okay. Thus I figured I’d better post something.

I can say it was a big ’un. The local Tsunami Warning Center says it was 7.2 and followed almost immediately by another earthquake of 6.0.

It was loud, too. Rumble, rumble, rumble – a very locomotive-y noise, punctuated by the sound of falling books and breaking glassware.

DF immediately grabbed the piano – not to hold on for dear life, but to keep it from moving too far off the little blocks under its wheels. (Even so, it shifted about four inches to the west.)

I was on the phone with my daughter when it happened and kept asking her, “Can you hear this?” (meaning the rumble). Then I realized she was no longer on the line. When the shaking stopped, I was able to reach her and Abby calmly said, “Oh, good, you are okay.”

[Oh, boy: Another aftershock! That’s two in the past few minutes.]


The temblor didn’t last that long in the relative scheme of things – 40 seconds, maybe – but boy, oh boy it was attention-getting. DF was a kid in the Good Friday earthquake, and he said it lasted for four and a half minutes at a higher intensity. Wow.


So then what happened?


We’ve been listening to the radio nonstop. I love radio: It’s a real-time way to update if you’ve lost the Internet. What I love most is how calm the DJs are: They pass along info as it arrives and invite readers to call in with “here’s what I see” updates. Thus a person would know to avoid a certain area of town, whether it’s due to a road collapse or an apartment complex fire.

Best of all: They politely but firmly remind people not to call in with what they’ve heard – only what they’ve seen with their own eyes. Rumors just make things worse. My nephew called to see if I was all right and told me he’d heard that two high schools were evacuated due to gas leaks or flooding. Thanks to the radio, I was able to say that at least one of those rumors was not true.

[As I typed that last sentence I felt a disturbance in the force. As confirmation, a DJ remarked, “Whoops – another one.”]

And if you want to see some swell pictures, visit The Anchorage Daily News website, www.adn.com. There is a paywall but you can view up to five articles a month for free.


A silver lining?


Unlike some parts of town, we still have power. In fact, we’ve still got Internet. My friend Linda B. reports that she has no cell service, so perhaps a cell tower came down. Or maybe it’s just clogged with people frantically seeking news of their loved ones.

At our house we’ve got some cleaning to do, since books and canned goods and toys and toiletries and other items flew off shelves or out of cabinets. The refrigerator “walked” away from its usual location; when I pointed this out to DF he went for a broom to sweep the newly visible dust.

Unfortunately, the quake means that Linda B. and I had to cancel our trip to the Talkeetna Bachelors Auction and Wilderness Woman Competition. Oh well.

[Dang. Another itty-bitty aftershock.]

And here’s proof that I can slap a Pollyanna-gladness onto any situation: At least the earthquake didn’t happen next Wednesday** – that’s when I’m having a colonoscopy.

P.S. My niece took the illustration photo in her kitchen earlier today. As for the color purple in the background, I had help: DF had to pick up one of his granddaughters from school and she helped me pick the elements. Because she was a little rattled by what had happened, I was inclined to toss her a bone.

*Fun fact: Alaska, not California, is the most seismic state in the Union. According to the warning center, the state had experienced 135 temblors by 4 p.m., and about one-third were 3.0 or higher.

**And yeah, I know it could happen again next week. But I choose to believe the tectonic plates have slid all they’re gonna.

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