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Tuesday, March 10, 2015


When I hear rumbling in my neighborhood, I take it seriously!

When Daisy and I went out for a walk this afternoon, I noticed a low rumbling in the distance. The sound was diffused through the trees so it was hard to tell which way it was coming from, but it maintained a steady rolling boom, boom, boom almost so low you couldn't hear it.

In the State of Washington in my particular area, there are only a few possible reasons for such a sound out of doors. Indoors, it might have been a tennis ball in the dryer, but outside, such a sound is more ominous.

First, it could be a distant rumble of thunder. In Texas, I'd have shrugged and dismissed the sound. Up here, if it was thunder, it would be just the third time I've heard thunder in the four years I've lived up here. The sound was too indistinct to identify. The sky was it's usually gray and there was no rain in evidence and given the rarety of thunder up here, my vivid imagination went cruising for another explanation right away.

The second thing that it could have been was artillery practice over at Fort Lewis. The howitzers often sound like distance thunder. The sound of such an artillery cannonade is far more common in this neighborhood than thunder. I've heard artillery banging away at all hours over at the practice range about 10 or 11 times since I've been here, far more often than I've heard lightning and thunder.

The third thing could be something I've never heard before up here, and I hope I never hear do hear it - the rumble of Mt. Ranier erupting in the distance. I don't hear any warning sirens, so it's probably not the rumbling of our local volcano. There is a pretty good chance that the volcano will go off. We're overdo for some activity up there. There are volcano evacuation route markers all over the place, regular siren tests and they give you this packet of information if you're a new resident here that will scare the pants off you.

The other thing it might be is the deep rumbling in the earth of two tectonic plates rubbing against each other. I've yet to experience an earthquake up here, but we live in hope. It's funny the kinds of stupid things that human beings think they want to be able to say they've experienced.

I'm thinking I blow it off as thunder and enjoy walking the dog. I fairly sure I don't really want to be in an earthquake and I'm very sure I don't want to be 26 miles from a major volcanic eruption.

A vivid imagination isn't always the advantage one might wish it to be.

Tom King © 2015

1 comment:

Greenescape said...

Being married to someone who, as a little girl, walked outside on May 18, 1980, and said "Daddy, what's that?" regarding a large white cloud shooting out of Mt. St. Helens 30 miles away, I've heard what it's like to be that close. Not interested in experiencing it myself.

Being around in the early 2000's when the earthquake near Olympia dislodged the Capitol Dome was as close as I want to be to a an earthquake.

Unfortunately, Tom, where you have chosen to live is due for both again in the near future.