Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Sweetheart and I were sitting down for supper last night, in the living room, surrounded by the library of books, music, films and the woodstove, in other words — headquarters — when we heard the tell-tale rattling on the woodstove. The woodstove that normally never moves. The woodstove we lugged in here some years ago and some hundreds of pounds and has no reason to move, never mind rattle.

Sweetheart said she was feeling a trembling also under her feet. I wasn't, the meal was that good, but Sweetheart was raised in California and has experienced more than one or two earthquakes. Her feet know earthquakes and we were having an earthquake. New England boy me was still fixated that the woodstove was rattling.

It ain't supposed to do that, I was saying to myself. Isn't it something that it is.

The last time I remember an earthquake, nevermind in New England, was when we were up in the woodlot on a sunny autumn day cutting wood, although at that moment we were broken down and relaxed enjoying lunch. Probably crackers, cheese and an apple. Thermos of cold water. Sitting on a hillside and talking, when the same trembling came as a wave under us. Now what in the world was that? we asked one another instantaneously with our eyes.

And before that was decades earlier, in this same spot in the living room, even same hour of the year, autumn, and we were studding up all the rooms in the downstairs as we renovated the twice century house and with the studs only showing and no finished walls yet up we got to watch the block chimney sway before our eyes. There was a woodstove attached and that was swaying, too.

Oh and ah, Mother Earth. Talking. Shifting in her bed. Just as we do.

This morning at 4AM here comes the official report:

"The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the 4.0 magnitude quake was about 3 miles west of Hollis Center, Maine, and about 3 miles deep. That location is about 20 miles west of Portland.

The quake was felt in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including Boston, and as far south as Rhode Island and Connecticut."

photo © bob arnold


Joseph Hutchison said...

Bob, I've been reading Heine's Poems and Ballads (translated by Emma Lazarus), and one in particular brought my Sweetheart and pretty quickly you and yours to mind as well. There's no earthquake in it, but I wanted to share it before I forget. It's #53 in his 1823-24 collection Homeward Bound:

Let the snow without be piled,
Let the howling storm rage wild,
Beating o'er the window-pane,—
I will never more complain,
For within my heart bide warm
Spring-tide joy and sweetheart's form.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Hello, Joe,

Oh, there is an "earthquake" in most of Heine and I know you know this Joe, mostso in this poem, and we know their names.

Thanks for sharing. It calmed down here to sunshine almost all of today
all's well, Bob