Tuesday turned out to be rather a remarkable day. Not that every day isn’t, in its own way, remarkable. For all days have something within them to qualify. On Tuesday, walking back from our daily ravine walk, when Stumpy appeared - whom we haven’t seen for the past several days accosted us for his usual three-chamber peanut - marking the first interesting, albeit not unusual event of the day.
And then we found, in our mailbox, a postcard from our peripatetic son. When he had telephoned from Barcelona, he mentioned he’d sent a postcard from Cordoba, and there was the postcard, awaiting our notice. Usually, when he’s away somewhere halfway across the world, the postcard he sends arrive some time after he’s returned home again. Not this time, obviously.
On the cover of the postcard, a wonderful photograph of the Cordoba mosque. I’d asked him at the time, when he explained to me that he’d been in the mosque, whether he had taken photographs. And he hadn’t, because he had forgotten to bring along his camera. In the event, we end up with a photograph of the mosque, anyway.
He mentioned, when we spoke, how odd it was that the pillars stood firmly within Roman-era plinths, the architecture of the mosque, built over an ancient church, and then, when the Moors left Spain, re-built again to a cathedral, is a marvellous display of competing but melding styles.
And it’s downright amazing how much he can print in small cramped letters, in the space allotted for communication on a postcard. We had a glimpse of his itinerary which, of course, he had expanded upon greatly when last we spoke. Anyway, it was quite lovely to get that postcard. Now, we need another telephone call.
So that’s two rather fascinating, and pleasurable occurrences for the day.
And then, later, when we were both in the kitchen, just before two, more of an earth-shattering event. Nothing pleasurable about it, although it was remarkable and in its very own way, interesting. Recalled to us both that earthquake when we had been at the shrine of the 47 Ronin, in Tokyo?
How the Earth seemed to move beneath our very feet. As indeed, it had. How mystifying, mysterious and even frightening it was. That same trip we had later seen, because it was an extremely hot and humid day as it so often is in summertime Tokyo, mist rising from the grounds of the shrine, and thought how appropriate it was to see such a historical, cultural-almost-medieval place shrouded in mist. Anyway, that was my (lasting) impression.
When I first heard the clatter and rattle, the loud insistent sound, and felt the floor shaking under us, I simply thought to myself, what’s wrong with the washing machine? I felt compelled to rush into the laundry room and shut it off. And then in another instant I thought how perfectly insane; the washer wasn’t on, I wasn’t using it, and it most certainly was something loud and literally earth-shaking, but not the washing machine.
While I was entertaining these fleeting thoughts, my husband had visions of a huge dump truck rattling down the street and managing somehow to rumble over the lawn and toward the house. Another few seconds and the sound and the movement intensified and he called to me to get outside, it was an earthquake.
Even as he said that I recognized finally what it was, and we both took ourselves out on the deck, calling for our two little dogs to follow. They didn’t appear to be the least bit fazed, didn’t feel inclined to respond, so my husband rushed back into the house to pick them up and haul them outside.
I stood out there for a few moments, listening to the sound diminish and the shaking slowly lose its emphasis, then I turned to re-enter the house, while my husband kept urging me (from inside the house, still rounding up the dogs) to remain outside. I didn’t, at that point, and nor did he, since it became obvious that the event had concluded.
We tried to call our daughter, and found the telephones weren’t live. A short while afterward they came on stream again and there was no response from our daughter's house, either her land line or cellphone, only a business signal which we took to mean that service was out, there.
(We learned later that she had been in her vehicle, driving at the time of the quake, and had no notion that anything had been awry. There was no untoward sensation of earth movement, ensconced in a moving vehicle.)
We turned on the news since by that time the clock's hands were almost at 2:00 p.m., and heard the gushing tones of awe in an announcer describing the event with few details, other than to remark on the number of calls coming in to the station. Later, we learned the event was almost 2 kilometres underground, about 60 kilometres from Ottawa, hitting 5.0 on the Richter scale.
And that it had been felt in Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, among other far-flung (relatively speaking) Ontario locations. Only later did we learn that residents of Boston were alarmed at the event, and that New York State and Vermont and New Hampshire also felt the shock.
Labels: Environment, Nature