Aug. 26th, 2011

taylweaver: (Default)
At the moment, most people in NYC are either freaking out over Hurricane Irene, or laughing at the people who are freaking out over Hurricane Irene. This makes Tuesday's earthquake old news, but I'm going to post about it anyway.

See, I'd never felt an earthquake before Tuesday.

Here in New York, it was a small, subtle earthquake. I wouldn't have felt it if I hadn't been sitting still, but I was, and I did.

I was sitting in my apartment, at my table. I don't remember whether I was finishing up lunch or working on a papercut. I feel like I should remember. I feel like I should know what my hands were doing when the apartment began to vibrate, but I don't. I was watching an episode of Torchwood on Netflix. That part, I remember, because at a certain point, when I began to wonder whether or not it was an earthquake, I paused the episode. Later, when I returned to it, I had to rewind, because I stopped paying attention to it even earlier.

The apartment was vibrating. The floor, the table. I put my hands down on the table and sat very still, just to be sure. I wondered if maybe it could be an earthquake, and the possibility excited me. But no, it probably wasn't. Someone was probably doing some work on our building, or somewhere else nearby.

But then, the table began to sway, and my chair was swaying too. Was it just my imagination? That was when I hit pause, and slowly, tentatively rose to my feet.

I wasn't scared. After all, I could barely feel it. Clearly, I wasn't in danger. I wasn't concerned about losing my balance. After all, I ride the subway.

Those weren't the reasons I hesitated.

I hesitated because I didn't trust it, because if I rose to my feet, maybe it wouldn't be real.

I've always wanted to know what an earthquake felt like. Not a big, scary one, but a little one, the kind that lets you know it's there, but doesn't do any major damage.

And there I was, standing in my living room (or dining room or bedroom, depending on your perspective), feeling the building sway gently beneath my feet. Wow, I thought. Just wow.

It happened at 1:51 pm. I know because the internet told me so. I didn't fully believe it until about two minutes later, when I finally found a website that listed recent earthquakes. There had been an earthquake in Virginia at 1:51, it told me. The tentative measure was 5.8. Later, they would change it to 5.9. My computer clock read 1:53.

When I looked up from my computer, my blinds were swaying from side to side. That, and the website, were the only proof I had, but they should have been proof enough.

I still wasn't ready to accept it as real, though, not quite.

Then, I opened a facebook window to post about it, and found that many of my friends had beaten me too it. A number of them reacted the way I had: with a touch of disbelief. Things along the lines of, "Did I just feel what I think I just felt?" and, "That was real, right?" And I was finally ready to say, yes. Yes, it was.

It occurred to me to wonder what brachah one says over an earthquake. (I'm guessing the same one we say for thunder.) I never actually said one, but maybe it's the thought that counts. Maybe it's the fact that one of my first thoughts immediately afterward was that there should be a brachah to say, that I felt the urge to say one.

See, the reason I had moved so slowly when I rose from the table wasn't fear, and it wasn't a lack of balance. I moved so slowly because I wanted to absorb the moment and hold it deep inside. I felt a feeling that I haven't felt in a very long time: awe.

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taylweaver

April 2012

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