At 1:54:30pm the building started to shake. I turned my cohort in the office and said, “We’re having an earthquake.” In Delaware, come on. As absurd as it was, there we were in the middle of an earthquake. I then remembered that I had been told just the week before that the building we were in wasn’t built on a foundation, only dirt. “We have to leave the building,” I said. And then, the shaking stopped. A sigh of relief slipped past my tense lips.
But, not for long. Another bit of shaking started and then I really knew we had to get out of the building before it fell down. But Z and I just looked at each other as if we humans had turned to stone who couldn’t move. Finally, I stood up and went to grab my purse and run when the shaking stopped again. This time for good.
OMG, we just had an earthquake, or the building was about to collapse for no good reason. I called the organist over in the church to verify that it was wider than our building. It was. The organist wisely left the building as he thought it unhealthy to have three stories worth of bricks over his head while the earth did a bit of shaking. Calls began to come into the office all with the same question, “Did you feel the earthquake?”
When we had all listened to the news and settled down a bit, I recalled the other earthquake I experienced. I think I was about ten and we were living in California. I was in the sunroom on the first floor and my mom was on the second floor. The house began to shake and things started moving off the shelves. “Mooommmmmyyy,” I yelled as I ran from the sunroom into the living room and headed for the stairs. My mom was by now flying down the stairs into the living room where she grabbed me and ran outside. It was enough of an earthquake to scare the living daylights out of me and one I never wanted to experience again.
Today’s earthquake was longer however, but not as scary. I mean really, I now had experience and sort of knew what to expect. I at least had an inkling it was an earthquake before I thought the building was falling apart. When the dust had settled Z went outside to inspect the building for any new cracks. She reported that there were so many cracks she couldn’t tell the new from the old. At least it is still standing.
So, where were you when you felt the earthquake? Home, school, work, on the road, in the garden?? Folks I’ve talked to who were outside didn’t seem to feel it as much as those of us in the building who saw things moving. My daughter was getting out of a cab and said she felt a little unsteady and dizzy but didn’t quite know what it was. My younger daughter was napping and said that the wall was banging on her bed which is tucked into a corner.
At home, my R said he watched our walls move one-half inch and sway back and forth. Our grandfather clock’s chimes banged together as the pendulum swung (swang?) more than it would have naturally until it finally stopped at 1:54:30pm. We took a picture of it for posterity, but more than likely it will end up in a pile of other un-scanned, unframed, and un-album-ed photos we have. Cracks appeared in the wall that we had had repaired over a year ago. But, thankfully, no one was hurt, no dishes crashed to the floor, and even the dog came through it unscathed.
We now know that it was a 5.8 quake outside of Richmond, Virginia and that it is highly unlikely, yea even rare, to have an earthquake in this part of the country. Hear tell folks in California are wondering what all the fuss is about. Wonder what’s next? Well, don’t know about you, but we are hunkering down waiting for Hurricane Irene to arrive. Ah me, all in a week’s life in the fast lane.