The morning dawned dark and wet. Rain slapped against the windows, poured off the roof, streamed down the spouts. An hour later, blue sky peeked through the gray blanket above. I perused the local and national news and social media—all on high alert about the COVID-19 pandemic. By midmorning the sky was beautifully blue, beckoning a stroll.
Returning from the stroll and a meeting with a friend—at the mandated six-foot distance—I plunged back into the project that has been consuming my self-isolation time. The closet in the office was today’s mission. I was proceeding in fits and starts, agonizing over long-overdue decisions to jettison ancient technology. Zip drive? Really? MP3 players? Times two. Really?
By lunchtime, the sky had darkened once again and another spring deluge descended, then cleared—as spring storms do.
The shaking caught me with my head immersed in the closet. Oh, here comes another storm. Wait, that’s loud, that’s hail, wait, that’s an enormous wind. I jerked my head out of the closet and glanced out the window, frightened by the moans, groans, and protestations of my cheaply built abode. The sliding closet doors were threatening to jump their rails. Hail was not pummeling my spring flowers, but my house was rocking and rolling to the beat of some subterrannean master.
OMG! This is not a storm. Reality raised the hairs on the back of my neck as recognition kicked in. This is an earthquake! My introduction to tectonic shifts was the 1983 Challis, Idaho earthquake which killed two small children on their way to school. That event caught me by surprise in the Post Office break room, coffee pot in hand. By the time I rotated to question my colleagues about the rolling floor under my feet—was I that hung over?—they were staring at me from under the table.
Was it really? I had little faith in my own interpretation. A quick glance through my Twitter feed verified that, indeed, a magnitude 6.4 (or.5) earthquake had struck west of Challis, Idaho. So, this year, 2020, we are faced with a worldwide pandemic, a global economic recession, state-level legislation that attacks “the other,” and an earthquake. And we are only a third of the way into the year. What more is in store?