Monthly Archives: August 2011

So that’s what an earthquake feels like

Light surf

Oh, all right - this is the Atlantic just off the coast of Maine. But the earthquake felt like I was standing on these waves.

Strange. Ve. Ry. Strange. I was standing in the dining room when it seemed as if each floorboard individually lifted a little bit and settled back down, or as if the floor had turned to water for a few seconds.

Granted, by the standards of California or Japan or Haiti the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011 was barely a twitch. But it was my very first, even though back in second and third grade I lived near San Francisco. More to the point, once I realized what was happening I kept thinking “But this house wasn’t built to cope with earthquakes!” We were really very lucky all up and down the Atlantic seaboard that there was so little damage, considering that lots of the structures in this part of the world were put up before building codes were invented.

Even so, here in South Jersey it really wasn’t anything to be scared of. Now, Hurricane Irene, due to run right up the middle of the state Sunday afternoon – that’s the kind of problem we can take seriously around here. Flooding, high winds, collapsing trees? That has me worried.