While standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes this morning, I calm-as-I-could-be reacted to the shaking of my house from another earthquake: I focused on its duration, its intensity, and of course whether or not I should run, not screaming, out my front door and down the stairs to the relative safety of the great outdoors.
It turned out to be a small quake: a 3.4, about 13 km away from me and 7.3 km deep. In the final analysis, not a big deal. But during it, waiting to see how it played out, it was a very big deal. Before it happened this morning, I had come to feel some hope; it had been more than a day since my house shook that much. Also, the language in the alerts from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory has been gentler lately: the words “small amount” and “minor” have been employed, and I was started to relax a bit.
Okay, so that was dumb of me.
However, there are things that are good: the image above is from May 6, and the dots represent quakes in a 24-hour period. The image below was captured a few minutes ago, and it is definitely more pleasing to my eye. (I live near the “c” in Volcano. The far right of the island is where the lava is terrifying people.)
Besides fewer quakes, there is other good news. A geographer friend of mine whose home is on the recently-in-the-news-a-lot Kamaili Road has found some solace wrapped up in this disaster; she writes about the good geography lessons emerging from all this craziness: “people are looking at maps (yes!) and calling Kamaili Road by its name.” (Kamaili Road is often misidentified as Opihikao Road.)
But the best part is that the same email also included this:
It’s been interesting here: one hour elated the next in great fear. We had everything in the cars except the cats and ourselves last night. I slept in my clothes waiting to smell smoke. A cop had come by at 5:30 pm advising evacuation.
I am trying to imagine how in the world she was able to fall asleep under those conditions, yet she is able to rejoice in map awareness! I think this is so fabulous.
I have a bumper sticker that I bought from a woman in a parking lot in Keaau; it reads “Puna. Not for wusses.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Lastly, I have more proof of the invincibility of coqui: if you watch the videos of the flowing lava, not only do you hear the cracks, hisses, and booms, you can also hear the frogs croaking. Unbelievable. Nothing shuts them up.