Monday, April 5, 2010

Riding it out OR how not to panic during an earthquake

Yesterday afternoon while I was sitting at my desk writing and answering my little great niece’s on-line, “Hi, Auntie,” greeting my house began to roll. I immediately knew I was experiencing an earthquake though I didn’t think I was in any immediate danger. Yet this one was different. The roll kept rolling and rolling and rolling. I didn’t hear anything crashing down from the shelves, I didn’t feel any strong impacts or shakes, I just felt a soft steady roll that lasted almost a minute. When I wrote my niece that an earthquake is happening right now, she asked if I was okay. And aside from the dizzy feeling I always get during an earthquake I was okay. And, I just sat there riding it out. I kept my hands in my lap, looked out my bay window into my garden, and, I got a very calm – almost eerie – feeling.

My office is on the ground floor of our house and I knew my husband was somewhere on the second or third levels. I didn’t hear a sound from him. I didn’t hear a sound anywhere. The only evidence of the quake beside what I was feeling was that the water in the bowl of my little outside fountain was gently waving, though not enough to splash over the rim.

And then all was still. I got up and found my husband. He had been in the shower and didn’t feel a thing. In fact, he turned on the TV to make sure what I had felt was actually an earthquake.

Believe me I know an earthquake when I feel it. I experienced both Northridge and Landers. In fact, I saw the aftershocks of Landers rolling in as the ground buckled. Now that was scary. The one I felt yesterday wasn’t scary for me, but we live over a hundred miles or more from the epicenter. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Calexico and Mexicali yesterday. The folks there felt the full brunt of a 7.2 quake. That is not a soft steady roll. That is a mean old long shake. That is more than dizzy. That is full panic. That is the kind of thing that scares people out of California forever. I feel lucky. I still feel safe living here. I don’t feel the need to move anytime soon – until the next one.

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