Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey
Well, it happened again. Today, August 23rd at 1:51 in the afternoon, the earth moved. No, I wasn’t kissing my wife. Somewhere beneath the rolling hills near Mineral, Virginia, two pieces of the earth’s crust bumped and ground against one another for a little less than a minute. The result was a temblor that measured 5.9 on the Richter scale.
We felt it strongly here in the
Earthquakes are a rare thing around here, even given the two we’ve had in the last 14 months. So its not surprising that the local equanimity might have been a bit bruised.
We had taken the day off from work and pulled the kids out of school to go to
So today, when the earth moved once again, I knew immediately what was going on. What I wasn’t prepared for was its length and intensity. I admit to a certain phlegmatism when it comes to quakes, having been through more than I could count. I approach these events with a certain devil-may-care attitude, simply waiting to see just how bad it gets. In a lesser building, that attitude could end up putting me at risk. It’s strange in a way. I preach to people constantly about the danger and unpredictable nature of tornados. I tell them don’t stick around to watch, just get to shelter. And yet, an earthquake, which certainly generates much more destructive energy over a wider area than even an EF-5, leaves me almost careless.
Part of that I know is that essential kind of optimism every motorcyclist needs. When you throw a leg over a machine like that, you have to know in your heart that you’re going to come home safely. I’m always aware of threats and hazards, but I never think I won’t be coming home. I don’t get panicky in an earthquake because I always think I’ll survive. Okay, even I’ll admit that’s kinda dumb. The other part is that silly male macho thing. After all, the Man Code states clearly in Article 7, “The Man shall maintain imperturbability even during disasters of biblical proportions, regardless of whether or not he caused them.”
The planet earth is a dynamic entity. There’s stuff happening in the atmosphere, on the surface, and deep under the ground, all of which can either bring a pleasant day, or a terrible disaster. But as inhabitants of this wonderful world, we have to learn how to cope with those unexpected moments when the power of the planet is turned loose on its dominant life-form: