I’m feeling lots of compassion for the people of Japan right now, after the 8.7 earthquake (or 8.8 or 8.9, depending on who’s reporting it) that hit north of Tokyo last night. I think the biggest quake I experienced in my five years over there was around 6.6, and even that was pretty scary. It was back in 1987, and I remember everyone in the office ducking under desks or running to stand in the doorways while the building shuddered below our feet for what seemed like forever, but was probably only 30 seconds. Hated. It. But I don’t think any buildings fell down, and life resumed as normal within a couple minutes. But this time is much worse. The train lines are shut down, a dam broke and washed away 1800 homes, a tsunami hit the town of Sendai, and there’s concern over a nuclear power plant in Fukushima too. (But I’ve just heard that the U.S. is helping them try to cool it down to avert a further disaster, so that’s a bit of good news.)
Of all the natural disasters that can happen on this planet, I think earthquakes are the scariest. With most other disasters you can at least feel like you can outrun it, or hide from it, or something, right? But when the ground below you is shaking or crumbling, you’ve got no place to go (unless you’re a bird, I guess). What a helpless feeling.
(If you’re able and willing to help, the Red Cross is accepting donations to help the survivors of this earthquake. Thanks. )