11 Jalal 165 B.E. (Baha’i Calendar)
Soundtrack in my head: The Telescopes, “Celeste”
I woke up a little bit after 4:30 a.m. Friday morning to the sound of things rattling in my bedroom. I could also feel my house moving a little bit, too.
It wasn’t the first time I’d felt the house shaking. There were a few other instances over the last couple of years where such shaking was definitely noticeable. But I’d figured out after awhile that the shaking was attributable to certain, um, activities by certain housemates.
But even in my fuzzy 4:30 a.m. thinking, it seemed to me that the shaking yesterday seemed a bit strong for that. However, I let it go at that. I couldn’t quite get back to sleep, and that made me feel tired the rest of the day.
At breakfast, I asked a housemate if she’d felt the shaking, and to my surprise, she said yes. She said that she was sensitive to such things because she grew up in El Salvador, where there were a number of serious earthquakes. She thought this might be an earthquake. I told her I didn’t think so—I told her such things did not really occur in Wisconsin.
I have a disaster preparation book and in it is a map of earthquake hazard zones in the United States. There are different shades of gray on the map, with the white being the lowest hazard level and the black being the highest hazard level. On the map, Wisconsin is completely white.
So I was surprised to learn when I got to work that an earthquake had indeed occurred, centered 400 miles south of us in southern Illinois. As an Illinois native, I’d known about the New Madrid Fault and the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12, and I remember feeling a minor quake in my parents’ house in Oak Park, Illinois, sometime in the late 1980’s.
It seems that along with tourists and traffic, earthquakes are another gift bestowed upon Wisconsinites from their flatland neighbor to the south. The same map I described shows a light shade of gray starting right at the Wisconsin-Illinois border, and then growing darker and darker until turning to back at the southern tip of Illinois. At least we can’t blame Chicagoans for this, they’re scratching their heads like we are at the unexpected shaking. Californians are probably scratching their heads, too, as they watch us Midwesterners make a big deal out of a little rumble—“Was that really an earthquake?” “Yah, yah, that was an earthquake, don’cha know?”