It isn’t loud, the sound of impending doom. It isn’t quiet, but it isn’t loud.

I’d always assumed the opposite.

Instead of a sudden dislodging of one’s solid footing with a sudden tap-tinkle-tumble of Grandma’s antique urn that had rested too near the mantel’s edge –

I expected a fanfare. I anticipated an alarm. At the least, I thought there’d be a Horseman.

But, no.

As I clutched my children against the shivering wall and listened to the silence that shook my world, I learned: there’s only the rumble of the moment.

It isn’t loud, the sound of impending doom.


Fallen debris is seen at a building at 500 South and 400 West in Salt Lake City after an earthquake on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

Written, then considered for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo ©2020 KSL Newsmedia

58 thoughts on “Earthquake

          1. Actually, I started running for the stairs but then it stopped. We all went back to our offices and, a few minutes later, we were told to evacuate…

            THAT took forty five minutes…

            Liked by 1 person

  1. I’t’s an unsettling feeling when you can only roll with the punches. Sadly we’ve been there, done that. 4 September 2010/22 February 2011 Christchurch. There went the ol’ homestead!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 5.2 yesterday just off our coast. The second good shaker in two weeks for us. I could use a little less drama and a little more routine.

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  3. Earthquakes are different in different places… I’ve been through them in a fair number of locales. In Guam we had several that lasted nearly a minute. I was used to 10-15 second shakes, so that was a bit alarming.

    Years ago I was helping my brother relocate from CA to WA. After loading the trucks and getting a few hours driving in before crashing for the night, we checked into a motel in central California. I was watching tv when my bed began to shake and I turned to my brother accusing him of slipping a couple quarters into of those bed vibration machines. Pretty funny memory.

    Fortunately, I’ve never been around any that caused fatalities. Thanks not funny.

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  4. I grew up in California, where we’re taught practically from the time we’re born how to prepare for an earthquake. My mom thinks I predicted a major one when I was just a few months old, so I can’t help but love earthquakes. Then again, California is better prepared to withstand one than most of the country. My husband and I experienced one when we moved to Maryland several years ago. In California, it wouldn’t be anything too noteworthy, but I quickly learned they are serious incidents in areas that don’t usually get them so are unprepared for one. So, I feel for you, especially now when there’s enough uncertainty. They may be brief, but, when you’re not used to them or are never on your toes expecting one, it can be really scary. I hope you and your family are okay and the damage done to your area wasn’t too severe. And, hopefully, you’ll never have to experience one again.

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      1. Ah, I can understand that. There are more old fault lines around the country than most people realize, so it’s easy to forget they’re there. I guess I like the constant reminders California gives us that “the big one” is coming any day now, though my mom says they’ve been saying that since she was a child.

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          1. I remember those… It’s weird that now my son comes home talking about them. Well, he used to come home talking about them. Oh, I guess I’d better do drills at home seeing as we’re becoming stuck at home for longer and longer periods of time.

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  5. Very true. Quakes are felt more than they are heard, usually. And where you get them a lot, you can even learn to judge how bad they are (allowing for distance, depth, etc.). Sometimes you’re not even sure you felt it. Sometimes you think a heavy truck rumbled past and shook the house. In a high rise, it’s even more subtle because they tend to absorb some of. No matter what, though, it is a bit heart-stopping. That you and the kids were tucked up against the wall was the right reaction. Too many panic and do the wrong things. If you can’t get to a sturdy wall, get under a heavy table and hold on to it so it stays over you. Pending doom can sometimes be thwarted. Glad you are all safe, if shaken.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Then anchor furniture, and move things away from the beds that could fall on the bed. Teach the children to either lie still in bed or drop down beside it and hold on. Just think through the possible dangers and plan for them. A big mirror over the head of your bed? Right…that’s coming down on your face. Time to relocate it. When we had the big Northridge quake here, I had my room arranged so the floor around the bed was littered, but nothing on the bed but me. Preparation eases fear.

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  6. That doesn’t look so good. I’m glad you and your family are alright! I heard the kind of rock/grounding in Salt Lake makes it so the shock waves travel farther than what we have here in Cali :/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. While I have not live in CA, I have live in to other states that have had mild quakes. One my china hutch rattled and I was ready to blame my boys… but they were in the car waiting for me to take them on a visit…

    There are more fault lines than folks aware of…

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