Service of Mother Nature is in Charge

April 8th, 2024

Categories: Earthquake, Mother Nature, Snow storm, Weather

These leaves swayed back and forth in my 27th floor apartment during the April, 2024 earthquake

There’s no advance notice of an earthquake. There is a short one for a tornado. I lived in the Midwest briefly and was petrified by one that skirted our town at dinnertime. Hurricanes have the decency to give residents time to evacuate. Though what a conundrum—where to go? How? What to take? Hurricane Sandy shocked lifelong New Yorkers as unforgiving, fierce waters leapt into the city willy nilly.  Blizzards upstate left behind feet tall snow souvenirs and no electricity for days and no phone sometimes for weeks. Thank goodness I’ve not been victim of a forest fire, mudslide or tsunami.

With all our smarts and technology, we still are nowhere near the driver’s seat when nature wants to flash its muscle.

I can hear the sound of people of California, Taiwan, China, Turkey and other earthquake prone regions rolling their collective eyes hearing about the to-do over the earthquake that shook parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut on Friday. Compared to other places it was barely a rattle.

It gave New Yorkers a chance to speak to one another in elevators or waiting for the bus. Strangers used to chat easily and often in Manhattan but not nearly as much for the last 20 years or more. Newcomers barely respond to “good morning.”

From my perch on the 27th floor I felt the floor shake where I sat at my laptop and my two-foot-long amaryllis leaves by the window [photo above] swayed back and forth. I’ve lived here five years. This was a first shake and sway.

But it wasn’t my first earthquake. I was in Chile with my mother as a teen for that. My nephews were young and kept asking mom to repeat the story. We were taking a siesta. Mom said, “please stop hitting my bed with your foot.” I replied that I wasn’t near her bed. That’s when she realized we were in an earthquake.

I was in San Francisco on business when a significant earthquake happened. The next day I was at a workshop when in the hallway outside a noisy container on wheels bounced over the rough flooring creating a racket. The woman next to me almost landed in my lap she was so alarmed by what she thought was the sound of an aftershock. I wasn’t thrilled looking at the substantial cracks in the conference center’s immense pilings next to where I staffed a booth for a trade show.

That same decade on the east coast as we woke one morning in Brooklyn the floor trembled. I remember because we were off to New Orleans that day.  We lived on the fifth floor.

Mother Nature sneezes and coughs, sighs, hollers and screams when she wants. There’s little to nothing we can do about it. Have you been in a memorable earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or storm?

The path to our house after a 2017 snowstorm.

4 Responses to “Service of Mother Nature is in Charge”

  1. Martha Tepper Takayama Said:

    I was in an earthquake in Mexico many years ago but did not understand what has happening. I had taken a valium or some such pill; to relax and sleep better. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I thought the apparent
    tilt of my room and my dizziness was due to my fatigue and the medicine. I only found out that I had been in an earthquake when an American couple I had met the day before called to asked me how I had survived it. My family and my friends who were going to join me in Mexico called me terribly worried . The friends cancelled. and I came home as quickly as possible. I had Salvadorans friends who often talked about what to do in an earthquake, and relatively more recent events in Japan and Turkey remain in my mind. I know we can do nothing to prepare beyond trying to build earthquake-proof buildings, but nature does seem awfully angry.

  2. Lucrezia Said:

    The answer to the question is no — thank goodness! However, this is my third and strongest quake, the first in Block Island, and second in Manhattan — both minis. I think an aftershock knocked over a plant. I’ve witnessed some of the devastation the 1964 Tsunami wreaked on some parts of Alaska nearly 30 years after the fact. Mother Nature doesn’t fool around despite her billions of years in practice!

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The Mexican earthquake sounds terrible! How lucky you weren’t hurt.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    When I lived in North Dakota, there was a terrible storm that created floods downtown. Two or three days after the worst, we ventured from the Air Force base to the town and the devastation seen in three dimension was so much worse than the TV or still cameras captured. I think of that when I see the impact of a storm on the news.

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