Shake, rattle, and roll

4 Jun


Living in earthquake country adds a certain excitement to life. You never know when an earthquake will come — there is, of course, no warning — and when one hits, you don’t know if it will be a small one or a big one. You don’t know if it is a local small one or a big one really far away. Yesterday afternoon, a small earthquake hit here. When a small one hits, it’s kind of fun — a quick thrill. Except that you never know if it will just keep going on and even get stronger — is it the start of a big one or a pre-shock to a big one? So, you sit through it wondering what will happen next. Is it over? Will it continue? Will it get stronger? Is the big one next?

The one yesterday just shook for a moment and stopped. It was a “fun” one. Thankfully, it didn’t keep going like the 1989 Loma Preita quake. Living in earthquake country you know that the big one is coming but you don’t know when. Geologists say its coming soon but in geologic time . . . that could be awhile. So, you ride out the little ones hoping they stop and don’t turn into big ones. You hope you are prepared for the big one (we keep emergency supplies in our motorhome). And, you really hope that you are near your loved ones when it hits so you can be together.

I am writing this wondering how I can convince people that I don’t worry too much about earthquakes. We know they are coming but haven’t any idea when. They are kind of fun when they are small. But, I remember being at a party in Maryland and someone asked me where I was from and I told them California. “Aren’t you afraid?” they asked. “Afraid?” I said, wondering what they were talking about. “Of the big one.” “Uh, no. Not really.” It sounds crazy but so do the people who are moving back into New Orleans and the people who live in Tornado Alley. Natural disasters can happen anywhere at any time and all we can do is be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

Yesterday was a little fun one! Who knows what tomorrow will bring?


11 Responses to “Shake, rattle, and roll”

  1. BEG 4 June, 2007 at 8:56 am #

    Yeah. it’s funny. Everyone who asks me “Aren’t you afraid of earthquakes?” just looks at me blankly when I ask them “Well, aren’t you afraid of hurricanes?”

    “Yeah, but you get warning!”

    “Right, but then your town, hell your CITY, is GONE…Most of the time we just have a little ride, and big or small, it’s done with in 5 minutes max, nothing like spending nights or several days in hiding for it to blow over…”

    Never seems to convince ’em though…

  2. KGMom 4 June, 2007 at 11:12 am #

    As I type, my words are appearing as little white specks on an inky black screen. Kind of like being in a post-earthquake place. I think your response of not being scared is very reasonable–every place on earth has some element of unpredictability & danger. So, we deal with it and keep on living.

  3. NatureWoman 4 June, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    Glad it was a “fun” one Lizalee! My brother used to live in CA and wasn’t ever worried, either.

  4. lizalee 4 June, 2007 at 5:22 pm #

    Mostly, we aren’t scared. But, in the days and even months following the Loma Preita quake, most people jumped nervously whenever a big truck drove by. Post-emergency jumpiness can’t be avoided!

  5. Mary Carlson 4 June, 2007 at 9:52 pm #

    Hi Lizalee – it must have been a small and very localized one. I live near Good Samaritan Hospital and I never felt anything yesterday afternoon. But then, maybe it never reached our location, or else I was busy moving about. 🙂 I’m so glad it wasn’t a big, bad one! Yet, as you said, we do need to be prepared – hard to believe the Loma Prieta quake happened almost 18 years ago.

  6. jayne 5 June, 2007 at 2:42 am #

    Oh my Liza, I can’t imagine how it feels to feel the earth moving beneath you. We live in sort of a “safe” part of the country in terms of weather and natural disasters, but they do say that the New Madrid Fault will one day give us all a wake up call. I hope it’s only a “fun” one when it happens. It’s why we really do have to soak in every single day and never take anything for granted I suppose.

  7. robin andrea 5 June, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    I will never forget the Loma Prieta earthquake. Yes, we were jumpy for a long time afterwards. We do learn to live with the fact of the unpredictable. Preparedness is a good thing, but I noticed that it’s easy to get complacent when years go by without a shake. The little ones are good reminders to make sure the batteries are still good, there’s plenty of water stashed, and food for several days.

  8. Sarala 5 June, 2007 at 9:19 am #

    Growing up in Seattle and LA I’ve had my share of earthquake experiences. I missed the ’89 one which had my grandparents temporarily homeless because I was already in school in Chicago. Earthquakes don’t scare me, nor do other natural disasters (to date). In Chicago kids fear tornadoes even though they only rarely hit in big cities (apparently the buildings disrupt them somehow). I doubt there is anywhere that is not prone to some kind of natural disaster. At least global warming hasn’t disrupted earthquake patterns (yet).

  9. Mary 5 June, 2007 at 11:00 am #

    You are absolutely right! Florida, New Orleans, and States all over the country have natural disasters and people rebuild. Marylanders have had some pretty nasty hurricanes but no one frets over the next one or lose sleep wondering it will happen again. Where do you move to avoid a natural disaster? I can’t think of a place…

  10. Susan Gets Native 5 June, 2007 at 7:45 pm #

    I have experienced ONE earthquake in my life and that’s plenty. It’s a little know fact that Indiana and Ohio and Kentucky lie atop a minor fault line, and I was babysitting back when I was 13 when we had a good rattle. Enough to shake the plates and move the pictures on the wall.
    Geoff, my DH, lived through a big one in LA back in the 90’s.

  11. Sandy 7 June, 2007 at 2:29 am #

    Liza, I grew up in tornado alley. Wasn’t worried then, but do now!

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