I Feel the Earth, Move, Under My Feet

As the 5.8-magnitute earthquake centered in Mineral, Virginia, rippled up and down the eastern seaboard, startling many an unsuspecting Mid-Atlantic resident, Carole King’s famous lyrics played through my head as I did what true New Jerseyans do in times of distress—I ate another slice of pizza.

While eager copy editors all over the Northeast scrambled for the nearest (online) thesaurus in search of juicy alternatives to “rattles” and “rocks,” I sat casually at Pete’s Restaurant and Pub in Morristown with our editorial team, enjoying a seismically eventful lunch.

No one really knew what was happening (some observant journalists, we). There was some gentle shaking, barely perceptible table movement, and the cacophony of glasses clanging together above the bar, but we just assumed it was a nearby train bounding down the tracks. Or, perhaps, a delivery truck backing up to the restaurant’s rear entrance to provide restaurant-y things.

Our waiter assumed the role of town crier, informing his customers of the true nature of the restaurant’s swaying. One member of my lunch bunch lamely tried to convince us that she knew it was an earthquake all along, but we weren’t buying.

Of course, this was big news everywhere for the rest of the day and into the night. Thankfully, earthquakes are not a typical event around these parts—and we don’t relish the possibility of abandoning our long tradition of minimal seismic activity.

Having lived in California, I’ve already acquired the West Coaster’s nonchalant disregard for low-grade earthquakes. The ground shakes for a while, but eventually it stops and you can continue, untroubled, on your way.

The news is awash in stories about why the earthquake was felt far and near, but the best account I’ve come across is by Alexis Madrigal in the Atlantic.

Be honest—did you know it was an earthquake? Where were you when it all went down?

Oh, and here’s Carole signing “I Feel the Earth Move”…live!

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