I had really been looking forward to Labor Day weekend this year, mostly because FD’s sister, Jo, would be arriving to spend a few days with us. Raising orphaned fawns, Emma and Ronnie, had kept us at home and not allowed us to take any overnight trips this spring or summer. If we did venture out, it was only for a few hours, as we had to juggle our plans with Emma and Ronnie’s feeding schedule. Because of this, we had not managed to take a weekend trip to Dallas to visit Sissy Jo in a very long time. I missed her, even though we manage to text each other daily.
Jo arrived early Friday evening, and we stayed up late visiting, sipping wine on the back porch as the sun set behind the trees. As darkness set in, we listened to night sounds in the woodlands, while a few lightning bugs lingered about in the warm evening breeze. We considered getting an air mattress out to sleep under the stars, but quickly discarded that idea when we thought about mosquitoes attacking us at some point in the night. Still, it was nearly midnight by the time we went to bed. I should have been tired, but I could not seem to sleep. Every hour or so I awoke, checked the clock, and realized it still wasn’t time to get up. I must have finally dozed off around 4:00 in the morning, because at 6:50 I arose with a start thinking I needed to get the dogs out to do their bathroom business and get the formula heated for Emma and Ronnie. I wanted to get chores done and have breakfast going early, as Sissy Jo and I had plans to go shopping in a nearby city that day.
I was just petting Bear and Mr. T and asking them if they were ready to go outside, when a loud banging noise got my attention. It sounded like boulders were hitting the roof. My first crazy thought was that aircraft flew over and dropped something, but then I looked out the back door and saw unusual movement of the water in the pool. Earthquake.
Most of what I experienced those few seconds, were audible noises. Along with the pounding on the roof I heard clinking dishes in cabinets and items rattling in both refrigerators. Oddly, I felt no movement in my standing position. For many seconds these noises continued, and I watched in utter amazement at the water blopping up and down in the pool. When the earthquake ceased, the only indication that an event had occurred was the single pendant light over the dining table swinging gently from side to side. Well, that and bedroom doors swung open with exclamations from Sissy Jo and FD. “What the crap was THAT?” and “Did you feel the EARTHQUAKE??!!!”. And of course, Sissy Jo and I did not get a very early start shopping at all, what with all of the excitement and the live television interviews with folks who were at the epicenter, nearly three hours northeast of here. I felt empathy for those people whose houses were in shambles, and the business owners with structural damage and interior cleanup. News reporters exclaimed that September 3, 2016 would be a day not soon forgotten. At 7:02 a.m. a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Oklahoma and several surrounding Midwestern states. It was certainly an exciting and unexpected start to the weekend!
As Sissy Jo and I sipped coffee on the back porch that morning, we noted that the bird activity and chatter was more than usual. Later, a newscast on television showed a radar loop indicating an explosion of birds taking flight at the time of the earthquake. No wonder there had been such a cacophony of noise in the woodlands!
I wish I had seen the reactions of our orphaned deer, Emma and Ronnie at the time of the earthquake. I wonder what our squirrels, Buddy and Punkin, were doing when the tremor began? Where was Daisy and her buck, Rooben, when the earth moved? What of the other mammals, reptiles and insects of the woodlands – what was their reaction? I was fairly certain that, true to their nature, their experience was simply one of being in the moment. The critters of the woodlands might have been startled for several seconds, but I imagine life proceeded quite normally when it ended. Not a thought was given about possible aftershocks or damage in the woodlands. I know Emma and Ronnie were just as hungry as ever when we fed them a short time after the earthquake.
But we humans do need to give some thought about what we have created and allowed for decades to take place with the earth. Oil and gas production has always been a major source of income and employment for Oklahoma. But there is growing concern that disposal wells, used by oil and gas producers to get rid of wastewater from the drilling process, could be a reason for the increased seismic activity that has occurred in our state over the last five years. The wells push the wastewater (a substance called brine – which is a mix of water and chemicals that comes to the surface with oil and gas when they are pumped from the Earth) deep underground, deeper than where oil and gas are found. And, water pumped underground in a modern hydraulic fracturing process, a drilling technique often referred to as “fracking”, has also been scrutinized as a cause for concern with recent earthquakes.
Little is being done in the way of actual research to direct moving towards change. Exploring alternative disposal methods and recycling has been slow to catch on in Oklahoma, and regulators have been criticized for not taking more aggressive action against disposal wells. I wonder what kind of devastation and loss will need to take place to prompt change and implement earth-conscious measures like recycling? And how long do we have before Mother Earth decides she’s had enough? I think we will all pay the price at that point – and I am quite sure the folks in Pawnee, Oklahoma probably feel like they are paying dearly right now.
© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…