There were three small earthquakes last week, with epicenters less than a mile from my house. Thursday morning there was another. Yikes! Four earthquakes in eight days and I could easily walk to the sites of the epicenters. Has us all looking at earthquake maps and speculating about The Big One.
We live in earthquake country. Generally, we are used to this. It's just that so many in so short a time span has us a little on edge. We all know what to do. You can usually hear it before you feel it. You hear a low rumbling, the house begins to creak, and then the earth moves. Get up and stand in a doorway. That's what I did when the Loma Prieta Earthquake hit.
Everyone who was here in 1989 has a story about where they were for Loma Prieta. The Boyo had just woken up from his nap. He was sitting in my lap. We were all home and watching the beginning of game three of the World Series - the Bay Bridge Series. There was a little pre-shake. I matter-of-factly got up and stood in the doorway between the dining room and the living room. Then it really started shaking. Cracks opened up in the dining room walls like zippers and little poofs of plaster dust came out. The clock banged the wall so hard it bonged several times. A ceramic train fell off a shelf and smashed to bits. Our neighbor, a Lebanese woman, had been telling us how safe she felt in Berkeley. Now she was screaming, "Is this The Big One? Is this The Big One?!!"
It wasn't. But the chimney of the neighbors across the street fell. A section of the Bay Bridge collapsed. In Oakland, an elevated freeway failed. And in San Francisco a whole neighborhood collapsed or burned.
So are we prepared for The Big One? At my house, sort of. We need to work on it, but I don't think we really believe it will happen, at least not soon. But, Yikes! It could happen any moment. We should really be prepared.
And no, the photo above isn't an example of earthquake damage. It's earthquake art - a piece called "Faultline" by Andy Goldsworthy and it's at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Here's another view:
Regarding Mr. Goldsworthy, if you haven't seen Rivers and Tides yet, Netflix it or rent it from your local video rental store. You won't regret it.