Friday, April 18, 2008



Normally,  I do not feel afraid.  I get a wee bit tense when the tornado sirens go off. But, I am not usually afraid of things that go bump in the night. This morning however, at 4:39am I was awakened by my bed shaking.  It was totally quiet in the house.  I could hear no sounds from outside and my 5 animals were all quiet.  So when I realized the bed was shaking I felt really afraid.  My first thought was this is an earthquake.  Then my next thought was New Madrid.  Having taught Earth Sciences I have come to feel a healthy respect for this place we call Earth.

For the first time I felt how all alone I really am.  I was shaking, no one else was around for me to talk to, so I didn't even get out of bed.  Why would I ?   I am a talker and when I am afraid I need someone to talk to.  So I sat there frightened, and tried to just slip back into sleep.  My alarm was going to alert me in about 30 minutes,  but I just didn't want to get up.  

I have tried for many years now to be good to the Earth we live on.  I don't use paper towels and paper napkins, I recycle everything possible, I have finally found somewhere to get my milk in reusable glass jars instead of plastic, I don't use petroleum based laundry detergent or dish detergent, but there is not much to be done about the structure of the Earth.  Fault zones are going to create earthquakes.  The earth is dynamic.  It moves.

When the alarm went off I hit snooze twice! Then when it went off again, the local broadcaster said that what I had felt was indeed an earthquake with the epicenter near West Salem Illinois. The next little alert told me it was a 5.5 magnitude on the Richter and was felt as far north as Chicago and felt in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

So for a long time I have been waiting for the big New Madrid quake,  you know, like the one that hit in 1812.  If that one comes you can bet there will be much damage.  With all the development that has happened since then,  buildings will fall.  This is the first earthquake I can remember feeling in my life.  I know there have been small ones, but this is the first I can truly say,  I felt the earth move.

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