Watching the Earth Move Under My Feet
Yesterday my daughter JJ (she's student-teaching this semester in the Haines School and graduates from UAA in May) and I checked out the "ground failure" situation on Oceanview Drive and Lutak Road, right near my other daughter's newly cleared house lot. There's about a quarter-mile long horse shoe shaped crack in the earth over there. I was worried her future yard would fall into the road and slough off into the sea. I had been monitoring the situation all day on facebook and at the newspaper office. The Moore's apparently couldn't stay at their home, as the ground beneath it was apparently shifting. Some people said it was caused by an earthquake. But surely we would have noticed? Haines is sleepy in January, but not unconscious. As I parked next to the barricades JJ asked me if I was sure this was okay. I said yes, and we peered into the main crack crossing the highway, it was pretty deep and wider than it had been the day before when I drove over it to take my son to the ferry terminal. "This is scary," JJ said. It could be just a bad frost heave, I thought. It has been a very, very wet winter and now it is very, very cold. There's a lot of weight on all that snow pack. But I am neither a geologist nor an engineer. We marched up Oceanview to her sister's lot to inspect the snow covered ground. JJ's cell phone rang and I heard her tell her sister, "I'm with Miss Duly Noted who can't help herself, she has to see what's going on with the cracks in your road." I used to write the Duly Noted column for the newspaper, and I admit, I'm naturally curious. To paraphrase poet Mary Oliver, I pay attention, I'm often astonished (a crack in the earth ? How? Why? Oh my!), and I tell people about it. So, there I've told you what I know and linked the borough press release above. They still don't know what is going on, but the earth is moving in Haines, and you can see it. As for my daughter who could be affected by the results, she is very wise. "Mom", she said when she pulled up to meet us a few minutes after talking to JJ, "Yes, I know this is happening, but we don't live here yet, and there's nothing we can do about it anyway, so I'm not going to worry until I have to." Well, that's what mothers are for, right?