I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I checked out the news.

There was, I read, a 7.8 earthquake off the coast of Alaska, and a tsunami warning close on its heels. People posted videos of sirens wailing and lines of cars slowly evacuating a peninsula with the sea sloshing ominously nearby. There was no going back to sleep.

I have an old friend in Anchorage, whom I met when we both lived in Connecticut. She moved to Alaska more than 15 years ago.


She never liked hot weather. In Connecticut, she suffered from asthma. She had allergies. As a result, she didn’t go outside much.

Once in Alaska, she became … well, I’d like to use the name of a famous female explorer, but female explorers are not, for the most part, famous. I’m going to have to write about them in a future column. Because Gertrude Bell, Isabelle Eberhardt, they’re not names most people know. I could say Amelia Earhart, but my friend doesn’t fly.

But she is an adventurer. No doubt about it. She hikes, she bikes, she camps. Not just in summer, either. In winter, she snowshoes, she cross-country skis, and she continues to camp even in the snow.

What she does not enjoy are earthquakes. And there have been a few since she’s lived there. No serious damage, so far, but shelves dumping their contents on the floor, a stomach-lurching sense of the ground moving beneath her feet.

I’ve got her on my mind.  And it’s going to be a very long day.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.