24 August 2011

The day that rocked our world (and not in a good way)

I am sure most of us have heard of the earthquake that hit the East Coast yesterday. Designer Sue Hillis lives not far from the epicenter and shared, via 123stitch, her experience.

I was at my desk at work a little before 2. Suddenly there was this "growl"--not quite a rumble, but a growl, and the room shook. It wasn't like you see in the movies, more like a rocking, rolling, skipping motion. The best I can describe it as is when you hit a really rough patch of torn-up street and your car shakes and shimmies. Only our ground here in Maryland is supposed to stay put. And it didn't. It moved my chair, with my big butt in it across my cubicle. My other co-worker came busting out of the break room, asking if we'd felt that.

It's funny how the mind works. My co-worker thought the construction workers dropped something on the roof. I figured there was an accident on the highway, which is less than half a mile away. Because . . . our ground is supposed to stay put. We did not assume it was a terrorist attack, despite how close we are to DC; for the ground to shake like that, it would have had to have been a HECK of an attack, and it looked OK outside. We will assume anything but the obvious.

Because our ground . . . does not move like that. It does not growl. It does not shake for 15 seconds.

And that was when the unease kicked in. I tried to call my MIL, who is baby-sitting our niece and nephews this week, and couldn't get through. I got a hold of Left-brain, who, of course, thought I was kidding. He didn't feel it. Neither did the co-worker who was out for a walk. But we all left the office when we saw the government employees leaving. We stood out there for 5 minutes, then came back in. I called my mom; she said she was OK, that they were out to lunch when it occurred. My dad apparently thought it was the restaurant manager playing a trick on them, til he saw my mom's face. In a way I'm glad they were sitting down when it happened; my dad uses a walker and it was pretty strong.

And that was the point when the police officer told us to evacuate the building. I started panicking that my co-workers would leave me, but they stayed. My boss sent us home for the rest of the day. Apparently they were concerned about aftershocks and wanted to check the building. I got home, couldn't hear Beazer, and got worried that something had fallen over in the garage and hurt him. When I opened the door, though, he gave me a "What are YOU doing home?" look, but he was pretty clingy the rest of the afternoon. I don't know if it was the earthquake or the fact that I had an open container of peanuts, and he loves them, but he wouldn't leave my side til his daddy got home. I was jittery for a while, with an unpleasant feeling, like something had been shaken up inside me. I guess it was my sense of well-being that took a hit. I feel better today.

Everyone seems to be alright. There was some damage in Baltimore. I am heartsick at the knowledge that the National Cathedral was damaged. I was lucky enough to attend services there 4 years ago, and it was the most beautiful, reverential place; I felt the presence of a higher power in the Cathedral, and I feel so blessed to have it in my diocese. I actually started crying a bit to think that it was damaged, after all those years of work, but I am trying to focus on the blessing that no one was hurt. Stone can be recut to patch a hole in a building; there is nothing to hide the hole left by a life taken.

They are saying it was a 5.9 earthquake. I hope I never experience a worse one. I'm sure people out West think we're just over-reacting, but I would rather do a hurricane than to be shaken. Though, not to be too "ha-ha" about it, but we have one of those coming through this weekend as well. Oh, well. This is life.


Joanne said...

I live in Maryland, also and do you know how difficult it is to stitch when you feel like you're going to be run over by a train? LOL! It is pretty scary!

valerie said...

I'd rather have an earthquake than a hurricane or a tornado. We had a small 3.6 earthquake last night at 1150pm. I'm surprised that I felt it.

April Mechelle said...

Glad you are ok Rachel. I would be so scared too. Just the thought of what could it have been if a 6. something Earthquake or more.. Scary...

April Mechelle said...

I forgot to say.. Watch Out for that Hurricane!

Branlaadee said...

Glad to hear you all are safe. 5.8 is a fairly big quake, even here in California.

I totally agree with Valerie...earthquakes over hurricanes and tornados. EQ's leave just as quickly as they came. Most of the time there is little to no damage. I see the paths of destruction that hurricanes and tornados leave every time they hit.

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls