We spent several years living in the northern desert of Los Angeles County and we felt our share of earthquakes including the Northridge Earthquake. However, we left California in 1995 so I haven't really thought much about earthquakes since then. That is until this morning. Here in our Northern Virginia Washington D.C. suburb we were awakened just after 5:00 AM by that familiar trembling. It only lasted about ten seconds. It was a fine vibration as if a train was passing near the house. All the little knick knacks and bottles on my vanity created a high pitched hum as they rattled against the glass top. Soon after my husband and I exclaimed, "Earthquake!" in unison, the shaking stopped. The kids slept through it.
The US Geological Survey says it was a 3.6 earthquake. Nothing really damaged except for a few nerves. Still, I hate earthquakes. During our nearly thirty years of traveling about the country with the Air Force, we have experienced hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes. Earthquakes are definitely my least favorite natural disaster. They strike without warning and there is something very surreal about feeling what you thought was terra firma move like an ocean wave. There is no time to brace, run, or hide.
But then again, maybe an earthquake is a good metaphor for life. We plod along day to day until some event shakes us from our complacency. In any case, I am grateful this quake was just a small ripple with no major consequences. I might include St. Agatha in my litany of saints today. And I have a feeling this song will be stuck in my head for a while: