Kids and Earthquakes


My eldest granddaughter commented on FB that she slept through a 5.4 quake when it rattled through Anchorage this week.  It brings to mind all the times her mother and I experienced quakes of varying magnitudes when we lived there.

I found out that it was rather a jouncy, bouncy one from reading news reports. “Things were swinging pretty good and shaking, like pictures on the wall, bottles rattling – and my blood pressure went up at least 20 points,” said Pam Rannals, a bartender in Talkeetna, about 30 miles from the epicenter [which was near Willow]. “We had bears in the parking lot last night and now the earthquake. Those are the talk of the town.” (from the AP)

And there we have it, the reason I will always be a little homesick for Alaska.  I could do without bears in the parking lot, but I loved the two-foot tall ravens who used to stalk the garbage cans and rip the tops off if they were not firmly latched on – apparently garbage is really good scavenge!  I had a family of moose in my back yard one year (twins!) and even though it made getting to the car exciting – or impossible – at times, I still laugh at some of the things we experienced.  Like the time I was at a nearby convenience store, walked out and was nose to nose with one of the twins. I yelled with surprise. He jumped.  I bolted back into the store. He ran around the icy parking lot slipping and sliding, then dashed across a local road where the cars were parting like the red sea before Moses to let him through. Later that day we eyed each other with embarrassment.  I don’t know which of us had been the most surprised – him or me. I’m just glad Mama was not there at the time!

I am a sucker for the eagles that are all over the place. Wherever there is water and good fishing there are eagles.

I used to love to drive down the Seward Highway to the cliffs where, in the summer, the little Dahl sheep would come to the edge and look down at the silly humans who were by the Inlet side of the road, watching the water for Beluga whales.  They’d spraddle their legs and look down for a few seconds until Mama came along and nudged them away.  “Don’t stare at the humans, dear, it’s not polite.”

Once, lost on back roads by the airport, we happened upon a majestic bull moose with water weeds dangling from his antlers.  I remember agonizing that I didn’t have a camera in the car.  We just sat there and watched him for probably five minutes until he got tired of being admired and wandered off.

And then there were the earthquakes. One tipped over a neighbor’s china hutch. Mostly, they just rocked and rolled and sounded like a freight train under your feet – only freight trains don’t end up rumbling by with a finishing Bang! Bang! Slam! My daughter was the queen of diving into an open doorway and holding on tight, despite the fact we always lived in the area of town which was built on bedrock rather than soil subject to liquefaction.

Did you know that it is hard to feel a minor earthquake when you’re driving a car?

Yanno, I envy my granddaughter, even though she slept through it.

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