Shaking unshaken

For those of you who may have wandered in… I live in the Midwest.

It’s tornado alley.

We do weekly tornado alarm tests… yearly drills in schools… classes to train on spotting them…

Sometimes on facebook, someone will post a pic of one of the weather channel vehicles, or one of the other tank-like storm chase vehicles seen in the area, the true sign of a crazy 48 hours or so to come.

That’s our natural disaster threat.

Sometimes we do get grassfires, but they aren’t like the hugely massive ones fueled by forests and brush. We don’t really have forests and brush, just grass and crops.

We sometimes get heavy rain as the remnants of a hurricane…. we sometimes get heavy snow…. we can get pretty dramatic thunderstorms….

But our main threat has always been tornados.

I had never felt a single earthquake until 2011.


I’d never even heard of earthquakes anywhere near here.

In 2011, there were two, very late in the year. The first ones.

It’s only been 5 years… and we have 4.x and even 5.x earthquakes monthly now.

They aren’t centered too close to here… usually they are between a 20 minute drive away and up to a 2 hour or so drive away.

But they are clearly noticeable.

When they come, you notice.

We actually live within just a couple of miles of a very large air force base, and so sometimes the planes are doing training things that have them flying fairly low… low enough that it can make things in the house rattle a bit.

These feel like a low plane, but that last a whole lot longer. Maybe 10 planes worth?

When they were new, they were a big deal. It was one of those things where everyone flocked onto facebook and posted about it.

These don’t do a whole lot of damage… its not like its going to make your house crumble down around you… but they do some repeated minor damage. Cracks that come out of nowhere, that get worse each time. Water mains that break. Areas of old brick or concrete that may crumble a bit.

The city has developed a response team that goes around and inspects things each time one of the bigger ones hits.

Some of the suburb schools now do earthquake drills, in the event that a major one someday happens instead of all these smaller ones.

But I realized the other day…. that earthquakes have become normal.


Yup. They are just sort of normal now. Even when they didn’t exist at all here 5 years ago.

Recently I found myself woken up by one… which I sort of noted as being a pretty long one, and promptly went right back to sleep.

Yeah yeah… earthquake.

It holds less real excitement than looking out the window and realizing its raining anymore.

There are a few people who still post about the latest one they feel.. but they are about the same number of people who post radar pics when there is a big storm coming that day.

It’s just sort of a shrug thing.

I considered reorganizing the main shelf that rattles when they happen just so they are less likely to wake me up.

But it sort of amazes me… how quickly crazy things become normal.

These are earthquakes, in the middle of the plains for petes sake! There aren’t supposed to be earthquakes here. There never were earthquakes here before.

But now, there are… for reasons that are highly contested and may or may not have to do with the oil industry depending on who you listen to.

Earthquakes here is crazy. This isn’t normal. This shouldn’t be happening.

And yet, it is.

Eh. Ok.

How does something so weird become so accepted so fast?

I know it happens too with culture changes… things that were taboo becoming common…

But it just seems so weird to me on this one, with something so physical, how much we just sort of adapt and accept that somehow we randomly got a new threat added… and mostly now just got used to it as the way life is.


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