Friday, April 18, 2008

The earth shivers, we say goodbye...

I was awakened just past 5:30 this morning by the earthquake that shook much of the Midwest (a magnitude 5.2, epicenter just over the Illinois line). I didn't know it was an earthquake, though! I'd never felt one before, so when I woke in the dark to hear everything in the house rattling my first thought was oh, the garbage truck -- but (although it does come about that time on Friday mornings) the garbage truck doesn't rattle all the windows. Then I thought must be thunder -- even though there weren't any storms in the forecast, and there wasn't any lightning, and it didn't sound quite like thunder. Trees falling? Large animals dancing on the rooftop? I couldn't figure out what the hell it was, but eventually it stopped and my heart slowed back to its normal rhythm and I decided the house wasn't falling, so I fell back to sleep.

When I woke again an hour or so later to the sound of the radio, they were saying something about an earthquake. Ohhhhhhhh! I said to myself. That explains it!

The radio also gave me a nice little tribute to Danny Federici, playing the last bit of "You're Missing" when his organ solo kicks in -- so plaintive and mournful and yet rising with hope. And I got sad about his death all over again.

Later on in the morning, about 11:15, I was sitting in a small conference room with my boss. I had my back to the door, and the door started rattling. I turned to see who was trying to get in, and nobody was there. Knock knock. Who's there? Aftershock. Aftershock who? (That one was a 4.5.)

I'd never felt an earthquake until today. It's quite unsettling.

At lunchtime I drafted a bit of a poemy thing. It's pretty sentimental, but it was that kind of day really.

[there was an elegy sort of thing here ... if you want to see it, especially Bruce/E street fans, feel free to email.]

photo of Danny Federici and Bruce Springsteen
photo credit: Guy Aceto/Backstreets

And the poets down here don't write nothin' at all,
They just stand back and let it all be...


Kelli said...

Happy earthquake day! ;-)

You know, we get them all the time in the NW and still, when they happen I question "what is going on?" I think because they are so random, nothing predicts them, just shaking then done.

They *always* catch me off guard.

Anyway, glad you are well.

Collin said...

Glad you survived that temblor. The poem is very appropriate and thoughtful.

Radish King said...

I'm with Kelli. They are entirely random and scary as hell. Hope you and yr house and babies are ok. And the aftershocks are unsettling. For quite some time. Cats are not fond of earthquakes either but refuse to get under a coffee table when you order them to do so.

My house has tilted toward the south since our last. Everything round rolls off the kitchen counter. I'll never forget my son calling me from school to tell me the trees are walking around.


Laine said...

Oh, Anne! I'm glad you weren't too discombobulated by the shaking. I'm also glad Julie and I weren't the only ones confused by it all!

Julie & I had both taken Nyquil that night, and we woke up groggy. Julie said "Is the car in the garage? I think it's hailing." I reassured her with "That wasn't hail. The wind's just blowing really hard." She went back to sleep and I lay there trying to figure out why what I had said had been so wrong. Then I remembered: we weren't in a tent or on a boat. We were on the second floor of a brick house. They don't sway in the wind. Somehow, this reassured me and I went back to sleep.

Lyle Daggett said...

As far as I can tell, the quake didn't shake anything here, too far north I guess.

One of the largest earthquakes on record in the U.S. lower 48 was in 1812 near the town of New Madrid in what's now Missouri. It was an estimated 8.0 on the Richter scale, and (among other effects) it changed the course of the Mississippi River in a few places near the quake.

A bit more in Wikipedia here if you're curious.

(Glad, of course, that you only felt the recent one as a mild rumble.)

Anne said...

I guess I'm a little late to my own party here (!) but thanks, you guys. As quakes go, it was really not a very big one -- none of my precarious stacks of books even fell over. :)

Laine -- your account made me giggle! Sounds like you guys were more coherent than I was... I don't think I managed anything more verbal than "what the f---"

Lyle, this one was actually NOT on the New Madrid fault, oddly enough. (I forget the name of the geological structure it was on -- something or other dome.) I'm still expecting the Big One on the New Madrid, eventually, which will probably shake me up a bit but not catastrophically.