Friday, June 25, 2010

Did You Say “Earthquake”? Huh?

We had some excitement in the form of an Act of God on Wednesday here in Rochester, NY! Many of us in the area experienced an earthquake around 1:40 PM. Yes. An earthquake. Here.

Mom and I were in the studio on the second floor of my house. The whole house started shaking like a rickety shack. It creaked and grumbled and shook like a Polaroid picture. Lamps rattled, water on my table rippled, the blinds swung.

We looked at each other quizzically. My brain quickly ran through several possible causes. Is that a big truck driving by? A plane? A train? High winds? I’m not sure how far down the list “earthquake” was but I can tell you it wasn’t really on my radar. Then my brain shouted, “Earthquake!!!!”

Since it feels like it all happened in slow motion I'm sure it didn't really last as long as I think it did. It lasted long enough for me to say, "Maybe run?" to my mom so we scooted down the stairs and right on outside to the driveway. We didn't want the house to fall with us in it. And since there was no way to know just how bad this might get or how long it would last, we got out. It was over by the time we got outside, which disappointed me because I wanted to feel the earth rumble under my bare feet in the grass.

The weird thing was that none of my neighbors came outside after it. Mom and I stood looking up and down the street. No one in sight. So we kind of shrugged and then went about eating the fresh red raspberries growing by my driveway that are utterly irresistible. (We are drowning in raspberries at the moment out there.)

Mom thought to turn on the radio in her car in the driveway so we could hear the news. It was maybe close to 10 minutes before we heard anything about an earthquake on the radio. However, I fired up my iPod Touch right away in the driveway, got on Twitter, did a search for "Rochester earthquake", and got instant accounts - some from trusted news sources - from a wide surrounding area about the earthquake.

Interesting Observation: My mom went to the “traditional media” of radio and television. I went right to social networks (knowing full well that the info is not always true) and to various online news sites. All of the local websites had info before radio or TV reported it.

We do not have earthquakes here like this one. Close to never. I've not felt one in the total of 24 years I have lived here.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred on the Ontario-Quebec border region of Canada and was a magnitude 5.0. It could be felt in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. That’s pretty crazy to me. It was only a 2.something here - have read too many reports with different figures.

This experience reminded me just how suddenly and unpredictably our lives could change for good or for worse at any moment. We got lucky with good. A little scare and a lot of adrenaline, but we are all fine. It was quite an interesting experience that I think I could do without feeling again. Ever.

So I am grateful that the ground is staying still. I am taking the opportunity to tell my loved ones that I love them before the ground swallows them up whole.

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