Thursday, September 8, 2011

Acts of Nature (Richmond, VA)

Mother Nature is showing her feisty side.

I'm tinkering in the kitchen when the whole house starts shaking. I assume that it's some idiot blasting his bass as he drives by, but the walls are wobbling more and longer than usual. My son must be moving furniture in his room!

In my most loving mommy voice, I call up the stairs, "What the HELL are you doing?!!!"

He yells back, in his speak-slowly-to-the-idiot voice: "It's an earthquake, Mom!"

No damage done here, although the 5.9er was felt from its epicenter -- about 20 miles away -- up through New England. Apparently, buildings were evacuated all over town and the East Coast. Reminds me of what my friend Ingrid said when we were talking about the huge and terrible 1985 quake that wreaked havoc on Mexico City. Seems that the only person who got hurt at the downtown hotel where we stay was a receptionist who ran out into the street and got hit in the head by falling pieces of buildings.

Less than a week after Big Momma Nature makes the earth move, she winds up the wind. Hurricane Irene pays us a little visit, downing power lines and turning out the lights for thousands. Leaves are stripped from branches, branches are torn from trees, and trees are toppled over fences, roofs, and streets. Rain pours down in sheets and blankets. Here on the hilltop where I reside, the winds whip and howl. My house's siding, as well as its fronting and its backing, take flight.

Unlike so many others, we remain powerful. I'm on line for hours, chatting with Facebook friends, neighbors, and relatives. We check up on and update each other as events unfold.

I recount our recent natural disasters to a Mexico-City friend, who says they had a quake there, too.

"When? I ask.

"Always," he answers.

As I have suffered no severe repercussions from Mother Nature's wrath and as I am blissfully unaware of the extent of power outages, tree downages, and home wreckages in the area, I am miffed that a monthly salsa dance has been canceled. I do understand the concern for safety behind the Dance Space's owners' actions, so my miffiness is somewhat tempered. I am hell-bent, however, on taking tomorrow morning's Zumba class; and Hell, bent or otherwise, has no fury like a woman who doesn't get her Zumba fix.

The gym is open on Sunday morning. While our regular instructor, Debra, saws her way through fallen boughs to reach us, a fellow Zumbista leads the first half of our session. Ryan's mock boxing moves precede Debra's belly dancing workout. I finish the class drenched and exhausted and relatively devitalized.

I spend the rest of the day visiting friends. In the front and back of my mind, I am thanking Mommy Nature that she didn't beat us to a pulp.