Friday, March 11, 2011


I slept through the knocking of the kindly man canvassing the neighborhood at 2:30 to warn us of the earthquake in Japan. I didn't hear the hurried conference between two housemates here at the beach about when they should wake us. I didn't hear the first round of sirens in the distance. But I did hear the voices at my door telling us to get up, get packed, load the cars, and hurry on to higher ground.

Every March, six of us old friends come to Arch Cape on the Oregon Coast to the house of the recliners. The old house has four bedrooms that sleep us comfortably and a long row of plate glass windows out onto the ocean below. In front of the windows are five royal blue recliners, where we assume the reading, napping, dozing, reflecting, dreaming position for 3 days. We also play a lot of canasta, do art together, read a lot, eat, and talk. Some years we get great weather and some of the group hikes; some years we get rain, rain, rain. This year so far we've had sun, rain, wind, cool, warmer, and early this morning our own version of the devastating tsunami that hit Japan last night.

We got online right away, saw that we had about 40 minutes to pack and go but we all went into adrenaline alert, making a quick cup of tea to take with, putting everything unloaded last night into our cars, heading up the hill to the church. At 60 feet above sea level, it's considered a safe zone though I argued for going further south and up to Nehalem. But we agreed to stick together and the church got opened up and heat on and lights on and about 50 of us waited for information.

About an hour later, we got word that the big waves were coming. My car was parked facing west out onto the ocean through a slice of trees so I went out and sat in it and watched the Pacific do its dance. The waves looked big but no more than a winter storm. We waited another hour, playing canasta, then cold, tired, we headed back to the house. Unpacked the cars again. Made some breakfast. The bigger effect on the water has been a series of very low tides and I suspect tide is not the word for it, where the water is sucked out, leaving the beach exposed, and then after a minute or so, it all rushes back in. This has been happening over and over since we got back.

We're all tired, not only from getting up early but from the adrenaline rush, the worry, the not knowing. Two people have been napping for several hours. I can feel my own fatigue and an interesting relentless kind of hunger that may well have to do with survival and certainly has something to do with needing to soothe myself. I think I'm going to go take a shower and see if that helps. There have to be more options in my life than food. :)

1 comment:

LC said...

Scary! Glad all are safe.