once in a century …

a moderate earthquake of 5.8 magnitude hit the east coast of the United States reaching up into Canada …

they are calling it significant


a once in a lifetime earthquake event

approximately 800 of this size earthquake occur around the world each year…

but NEVER on the east coast of the United States…

the 23rd of August here in Northern Virginia was a beautiful clear blue sky day with very low humidity and temperatures comfortable enough to have the windows open…

a bit unusual and certainly nothing like our recent heat wave or our typical dog days of August

I was tending to my son’s window full of houseplants…

one plant was very leggy and falling over…

I found a plastic covered wire stem for it to hang on to and was just about to put the two together…

*photo of TV screen soon after the tremor…they were calling it 5.9 at that time*

at 1:51pm…

in the kitchen…

I found myself hanging on for dear life to the handle of our stove…

I watched as our quarry tile floor seemed to roll and undulate under my bare feet…

there was an eerie roaring sound…

the open windows reflected light as they buckled in and out…

a bookshelf shuttered fluttered and rattled …

I cringed wondering what would hit the floor …

and what was coming next…

one little plastic doll was the only thing I heard drop …

as quickly as it came…

it ended…

lasting just under a minute where I was…

as soon as I could get my fingers steady enough to push buttons I called Mr Magpie who was working in College Park, Maryland where they felt about 10 seconds of the same quaking …

after that brief phone call the lines were clogged for awhile…

it certainly was a surreal experience leaving me shaken and teary eyed thinking of those in recent REAL earthquakes …

wondering after just a minute of quaking here how they could survive the terror of something much more violent and devastating…

there are no signs of damage at our home…

many people will forever remember where they were when this earthquake hit…

a couple things I learned and am reminded of:   our two story wooden house with vinyl siding on a concrete slab is much more elastic than I could have ever imagined …

everything can change in the blink of an eye…

Mother Nature can be fierce…

there is so much to be grateful for…

* * * * *

many thanks to all of you sweet friends who checked in to see how we are doing…

it was comforting having the computer still working

we did not lose power at all

hoping each of you are safe and well … OXOXO

p.s. with reports of devastating earthquakes around the world  this year … I found myself at a loss for words to express what was in my heart…reminded that people deal with things on a daily basis that we might never be able to fully comprehend

… even my quote is on the long side today…

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  ~Leo Buscaglia

43 responses to “once in a century …

  1. It is so good and such a relief that you are well and unharmed. Take care, Petra. x


  2. I feel so horrible for your experience Patty, and so happy that you are all okay. We felt only a slight movement here, barely, and still were very frightened and confused. Your post has taken the words out of my mouth.
    Your ending quote sums it up. We are blessed today and everyday. So glad you are safe.


  3. At least you are SAFE. This was NOT a minor event, and you are very, very lucky to have come away unscathed. I never realized that earthquakes were so dependent on what type of house and foundation you have. No wonder they are so brutal in CA.


  4. mother nature never lets us forget just how powerful she can be…blessings of a peaceful mind to you today, dearest…


  5. As always Patti you express so well what others are thinking about…..it was a scary time for many people here in the Old Dominion. I, myself, was where there wasn’t much action…thank God for that. It does remind us how fragile life really is and that we must “handle it with care”. So glad that you & yours are fine.


  6. Dear Patty, So glad all is well with you. We are on vacation in florida and heard about it. So surreal is right. Makes us take a moment to be thankful and grateful for all we have! hugs


  7. weather is one thing, but one never forgets the feeling of the earth moving under ones feet… my grandmother told me the most frightening thing that ever happened to her were the earthquakes in Italy… she had nightmares about them for the rest of her her life. I am so glad you and yours, as well as the magpie nest is safe and sound. we are all so blessed. xoxox


  8. Beautiful post Patty. And glad we all survived. Every day is a miracle really…


  9. andrea gilsdorf

    Happy to hear you are ok Patty. Was very worried, i know from experience how scary it is to be in an earthquake. Happy to see your posting and all is fine with you and yours!
    XOXO Andrea.


  10. It must have been an awful experience! Glad you are ok. Take care.


  11. glad you are alright Patty….oh dear that was quite an experience….take care and keep well..


  12. So glad you and Mr. M are okay. It does leave us with emotional reverberations doesn’t it? It’s odd how much our houses could take and still stand! They really are ‘elastic’! Lovely post.


  13. What an awful and scary experience! So glad you are ok Patty!
    Fantastic quote…
    Take care and keep safe x


  14. When things like this happen it’s like a reminder to remember to enjoy life. To love. To laugh. To cherish the good moments. You shared that beautifully today. I felt it in my sould and I will try to live up with it too. We forget too easily… I’m glad you and the Mr. are allright!


  15. Patty; thank you for this post. I am so happy you and yours are alright and it was a very scary thing. We felt the vibrations, here, in the Northeast. I was walking my grand daughter in the stroller in her neighborhood and felt the shaking – very eerie. I was listening to a report on BBC, this morning, and seismologists’ reported there are small quakes going on in the Adirondacks very often and this is good to keep the pressure from building up. Mother Nature is surely a puzzle and I guess we do need to live each day to the fullest. I love the Leo B. quote – thank you. xxoo


  16. Hello dear Patty! I’ve been thinking of you since I heard the news! Had to jump on over here to see if you were ok. Glad to hear you and your loved ones are well! Yes, as a California native, I certainly can relate to everything you described here! It is NOT fun…and you certainly feel as if you have no control over what is going on around you. The 1989 San Francisco/Oakland earthquake left me feeling shaky for a very long time. And yes, we do feel more empathy for those that have to deal with these things on a very tragic scale! Glad you are ok, my dear!!! Sending hugs your way…from 3000 miles away!


  17. such a relief you are safe, it must have been such a scary experience. Our mother earth is a fragile globe to live on…


  18. Patty, although we are closer, it sounds like the force was stronger up your way. However, it lasted far longer down here with all the ventilation ducts making rattling noises for almost 2 minutes. I wonder if the insurance companies are busy today signing up people for earthquake insurance now. I loved your writeup. I felt as if I were there on your kitchen floor feeling the shaking of the tiles.


  19. Excellent and heartfelt recap of our earthquake, better than anything on the news for the day. Thank you for that, Lennie


  20. so glad you sare safexxx


  21. So glad you are okay and that it was not stronger than it was. Feeling totally helpless is not good, is it! I’m glad you got to experience it though…. a learning experience for sure!


  22. It seems there are more and more ‘once in a century’ things happening around the world. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but am very happy you are safe.


  23. so glad to hear you are ok patty, i heard the power and phone lines were down so was going to eamil you today…how scary, glad there wasnt more damage…xxxx


  24. SOOOOO happy all is well with you and yours, Patty….what a horror! Happy to hear there was no loss! xoxo


  25. A great reminder to not take anything for granted ~ it is all a beautiful gift of grace! Loving blessings ~ Katie


  26. Dear Patty, glad to hear you are safe and sound. That must have been very scary. Take care!


  27. Oh you poor darling – it is the most frightening experience I know.
    Thank goodness you are OK – is there a lot of damage in your area?
    In Christchurch where our earthquake hit, they are still experiencing aftershocks. I can’t imagine how they cope with it.
    Something is happening in our world I feel.
    Thinking of you and take care dear Patty – I hope Mr Magpie is home now to comfort you.
    much love
    Shane x


  28. this is giving me goosebumps… what a shocking experience!! so good you are not hurt (outside)… really a reminder for cherishing every day!


  29. Patti..
    I was walking from bedroom toward kitchen when shaking and rumbling started. Didn’t know where Eddie was and called his name…he was on riding mower down near Bleak Hill Rd. Pictures on walls were askew but no damage. Friend in Reston lost a valuable ceramic pot. Seems mantals and shelves were vulnerable. My shelves hold books so safe. Rather glad I experienced this to be able to empathize better.


  30. Gosh it sounds like such a scary experience. And as you say, we never really can know what it’s like for others until we experience it for our self. I am so glad your all OK. Love a friend Dxx


  31. so glad all is well at your house…your description is frightening. we were driving in our car at the time and didn’t feel a thing. nothing out of place at our house. indeed, we who don’t have to live with the constant threat of earthquakes are fortunate.


  32. Scary for you! Still, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of our ‘temporary’ status occasionally. Makes you appreciate your life, and loved ones more. Nice quote Magpie.


  33. It makes me shake to read this again. Poor, dear Patty! I remember being terrified the whole time i lived in San Francisco (realizing that one can’t live their life in terror). I grew up in the land of tornados but those seem a little more under control to me. I do feel badly that some people in our world have to worry about earthquakes all the time.

    Loved the quote. I got a hug from Leo in college. He was a good hugger!!!



  34. wow! what a scary experience! I’m so glad you are safe, and yes- it sure does make you thankful when you go through something like that! I can’t imagine what people go through in cases of severe devastation. Be well Patty! xo


  35. Been wondering how you were and glad all is well. We felt a bit of a tremor — almost like someone knocked the table leg with their shoe. I thought of you and my other VA, DC friends. I am very grateful there was as little damage anywhere as there was, and especially to you.


  36. So glad you and yours were all right. The description of the quake was very riveting to read.


  37. As soon as I heard about it on the news I thought of you Patty…..so glad you are ok. Your description was very real; it must have been such a shock.
    We were once in Zante when a 5.5 earthquake occurred…we just had waves in the swimming pool!!


  38. Hi Patty! Love the “shaken not stirred” comment you left on my blog! How true it is! We’ve had 8 confirmed aftershocks and there could be more. And now we’re going to have to batten down the hatches. Stay safe!!!


  39. Pingback: Goodnight Irene | Magpie's Nest ~*~ Patty Szymkowicz

  40. What a wonderful post–I’m sorry you had to go through that, but am so glad you and your family AND your home are all okay!


  41. So glad you are okay! I was near an earthquake that happened in Oakland, California in 1989. It was a 6.9 magnitude and claimed so many lives. I do remember our house looking like it was made of jello. So strange and yes, such a reminder that life is indeed precious. Thank you for this lovely post. ~Janee


  42. Oh my goodness, I imagine how afraid you were. We don’t realize how lucky we are some times to live without earthquakes. Glad to hear you are safe, and hope Irene didn’t affect you either.
    Enjoying catching up on your blog my friend, it’s been so long, and it is so nice to see your art work again 🙂


  43. Oh, Patty, so glad you and yours were all right — how frightening that was. I even felt it on my fifth floor office in Michigan — truly a tremor, not a quake. And I thought of all my East Coast friends. I’m glad all is well.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts here...it means a lot to me and I appreciate your visit very much oxo

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s