Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When the Earth Moves

by Pa Rock
World Traveler

Earthquakes are not uncommon along the Pacific Rim  - or the Pacific Ring of Fire - and up until today I had felt three minor ones in the fifteen months that I have been on Okinawa.  All of those occurred early in the morning while I was still in bed, and they might have gone unnoticed but for the fact that my big iron bed is on wheels and tends to roll about when the building sways - even if the sway is very slight.

We had another earthquake about noon today, local time, while I was at work.  That quake was stronger - 6.8 on the Richter Scale - and did a good job of rattling the old building that I work in on Kadena Air Base.  We suffered no damage, but it was substantial enough that I figured I might come home to some breakage and disarray..

Most things at my house managed to stay put, but a few things were thrown from shelves and off of tables in several of the rooms.  The only broken items were two old flower vases that belonged to my mother, and they were in different rooms.  I had bought each of those vases for her, the oldest one half-a-century ago from the Ben Franklin Store in Noel, Missouri.    I was sad to lose those items, but the lesson is to not become attached to stuff.  Fortunately, no one was hurt in this event (as far as I know) - and that was a blessing.

Earthquakes are a fact of life in Japan.  They have recently been occurring in the American Midwest as well.  We are advised here that we should get under a table or a desk when the tremors start - or stand in a doorway.  That's all simple stuff to remember - and very effective.

So my advice to all of you Sooners and other Midwesterners who are having your first experience with earthquakes is to stay safe, and be careful where you put the family heirlooms!

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