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I’m not afraid of things that go bump in the night…not even an earthquake

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No, I didn’t feel the earth move under my feet late Tuesday night, only because I wasn’t on my feet. I was in bed.

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patti dawn swansson

Be assured, however, that I heard and felt Mother Nature shake, rattle and roll 21 minutes before midnight, because a 4.8 magnitude earthquake 17 kilometres north east of your sleepy head tends to attract one’s attention. Talk about things that go bump in the night.

Actually, I’m not sure if it was a 4.8 or a 4.3 shaker. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the former, while Earthquakes Canada indicated that latter. I guess the Canada-U.S. exchange rate applies to not only the loonie but acts of God, as well. Whatever the case, it was, at the very least, an interesting wakeup call. Literally, also figuratively, for those of us who live in Victoria or elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

We know the Big One has yet to arrive, but few, if any of us, live in fear of the island being ripped open like a big zipper. Shakers are part of the gig. According to earthquaketrack.com, we’ve had two in the past seven days, four in the past month and 54 in the past year. Do I hear 55 by the time we all raise our champagne glasses and sing Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of 12 o’clock on Thursday night?

So we get it. One day the earth will open up wide and a tsunami will have us scurrying for higher ground. If, that is, there’s any higher ground left to run to. It is, after all, quite possible that the Pacific Ocean shall swallow us whole.

In either event, we don’t really dwell on it. This morning, of course, many of us will discuss the Thursday night rumble, and perhaps shops that peddle earthquake survival kits will do brisker-than-normal business, but the natterbugs soon will turn their attention to more common quibbles. You know, like the man-made disaster known as the Vancouver Canucks’ defence or the weather.

Be advised that, despite being blessed with the most comfortable climate in all of this vast land, we whinge about the weather like no other peoples in Canada, most notably those among us who have never exposed their flesh to the 40-below bite of a prairie winter. Victoria lifers have this odd notion that, because a 40-below wind chill is a “dry cold,” it’s more doable than the dampness of our 10-above days in late January. Odd thing is, whenever I suggest to the chattering class that the punishment for dissing our winter weather is banishment to Winnipeg, they recoil in horror.

“No!” they yelp. “Anywhere but Winnipeg! It’s too cold there!”

Then put a sock in it, mook.

Anyway, I digress. Back to last night’s shaker, This wasn’t my first rodeo. I’ve lived to talk about a big one in Los Angeles during the 1980s (5.9 on the Richter scale). And a less-ruinous one in Ottawa, also in the ’80s. I’ve felt the earth move under my feet here before. Maybe that explains my ho-hum posture this morning. I haven’t even bothered to check my eighth-floor home for ruinage, because I can’t imagine there is any from a five-to-10-second earthquake. I mean, only Donald Trump can cause significant damage in such a brief amount of time.

The shakers I’ve experienced have never frightened me. They make me sit up and take notice, to be sure, but cats and rats and a run in my nylons are cause for greater dread.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some more kip and, hopefully, Ma Nature has no more 4.8 or 4.3 wakeup calls planned.

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