DC experienced the strongest earthquake it’s had since apparently 1897. That’s over 100 years. Sure, there was one last year, but even though I’d been awake during it, didn’t feel a thing.

Now this was not my first earthquake. Having lived in California for several years, I felt a few there (and had a distant brush with their forest fires, which is another story). But in the time I’ve lived in DC, over half a decade, I have not felt the ground move. So once the boxes around me and my desk started shaking, I almost ruled out an earthquake altogether. After all, this is not California.

Here’s what’s disconcerting about earthquakes: there’s no warning. Okay, maybe animals somehow have warning, but for me it was just another afternoon reviewing paperwork and suddenly my desk and chair shaking and items around me rattling together. At least with storms and hurricanes, and even to an extent tornadoes, there’s a warning. But with an earthquake? There are no earthquake warnings. Careful! An earthquake’s been spotted in the area! Conditions are ripe for an earthquake.

Nope. Unless by ripe you mean sitting on or near a fault line, in which case I suppose every day could be a watch.

But all’s well that end’s well. And the earthquake definitely provided a topic of conversation for the week. That is until the week drew to a close and we were left with the weekend and a new topic: Irene.

Well, given that the plates are continually shifting, I’d imagine the conditions might always be right for an earthquake.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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