From Earthquakes to Scandanavia

My husband has been spending time in Oklahoma this summer with his Dad, who is recovering from major surgery in his fight against cancer. We both grew up in that state and still have many friends and family there.

Those friends and family have been commenting on Facebook about the growing earthquake epidemic there but it’s just been an abstract matter of curiosity to us. When we’ve been there to visit, we haven’t experienced any. Although their offhand comments (“that was a big one”) affected a certain familiarity with their apparent new norm, I continued to believe that it really didn’t happen that often.

Then my husband went up for his Dad’s surgery and slept in his Dad’s house. Apparently we just aren’t spending the night with the right parent if we want to experience an earthquake. He was disturbed every night by earthquakes, and my husband is not a light sleeper.

He installed an earthquake app on his phone and learned that 1) Oklahoma is next to California for number of earthquakes in the country and 2) his dad’s county is one of the most active in Oklahoma. One morning, he was awakened by what sounded like an explosion nearby, followed by significant shaking of the house. That one, his app told him, had an epicenter just half a mile away.

When he returned home from that trip, he showed me the app and all the quakes that proved his sleepless nights. The app came complete with satellite imagery and could pan all over the world. Eventually, it ended up in young Hal’s hands.

“Greenland doesn’t look green,” he announced at one point.

“No, it doesn’t, does it?” his dad responded. “And Iceland doesn’t look icy either.” He pointed Hal to the little island nearby.

Hal continued his global exploration.

“Finland {pronounced FinLAND, not FinLUND} doesn’t look fishy.”


“Finland doesn’t look fishy. Shouldn’t it have fins if it is FINland?”

We smiled and he continued his examination of Scandinavia.

“Norway doesn’t look like it has Nors.”

“Nors? What are Nors?”

“You know. Nors. That’s what they should have in Norway.”

“Oh, ok, honey.”

“Swehden {pronounced with a lowercase E} doesn’t look sweaty.”

“It’s Sweden,” I said, laughing.

“No, it’s Swehden.”

“Sweden, honey.”

“Swehden. And it’s not sweating so why’s it called Swehden?”

“It’s not! It’s called Sweden.”

I enjoy this boy’s humor and innocence. And for all the smart phone’s drawbacks, I’m glad he’s growing up in a time when we can look at where earthquakes are happening and zoom all over the world on a map that shows such detail. The world is literally at our fingertips. Including the great, non-sweaty country of Swehden.