Before I went to bed last night, I heard about the awful earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I said a prayer for them as I drifted off to sleep. This morning, at 5:45 a.m., I heard my husband's cell phone ring. I thought "This can't be good news; I hope no one is sick." A few moments later, my cell phone rang. I answered it and was greeted with a recorded message that all schools in our district were closed for the day and that voluntary evacuations were taking place because a tsunami watch was in effect! Knowing that our house is on a hill several hundred feet above the local "Tsunami Gathering Site," I wasn't too worried about our safety. But as the tsunami sirens were going off at fairly regular intervals between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m., I pulled myself out of bed and went upstairs to watch TV with my husband.
The authorities were in fact asking for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas on the west side of the highway. We're on the east side and up on top of a big hill, but there were plenty of people who did evacuate. Our high school was one of the evacuation sites:
The kids woke up and trundled upstairs mid-morning for what felt to us like a snow day. There wasn't much to do but watch the news and see what developed. Luckily for us, the disaster turned out to be, in my son's words, "kind of lame." The ocean surge and wave action around here was less than what we normally see for a winter storm. My son's baseball game, scheduled for 3:30, went on as planned. When I went to drop him off at the high school, I saw that the television crew was still around interviewing people:
Most of us here on the Coast are a hardy lot, and many think this was much ado about nothing. But still . . . it does give one pause. It's nice to know that the systems are in place in case of a real emergency. And it's a good reminder of the power of nature and a reminder to not take our loved ones for granted. My husband took the day off, and we had a very nice family day. I made a point of hugging my kids today and telling them that I loved them. Because part of me thinks that there's a thin line between the tsunami that wasn't and the tsunami that could have been. And I'm glad that, for today at least, we were on the right side of that line.