Even before Irene made landfall strange and unusual occurrences were taking place in Northern Virginia. Last Tuesday Alison and I were sitting on the couch in her home discussing some verses in Ephesians and what they revealed about God's plan and design for the world when suddenly the room began to shake. It first seemed as though someone was very heavily ascending the outside stairs leading to the front door and then as though a rather large truck were passing by on the street outside. This sensation ceased after a few seconds but before we even had a chance to say anything about it, it started again, only much stronger and more forcefully. Soon the entire house was shaking to the point where we began to fear that pieces of the ceiling were going to fall on top of us. I was just thinking that we had better move and try to at least get under the table when it stopped as quickly as it had begun.
My first thought was that it had been an earthquake, but I dismissed this thought as impossible considering where we were. That thought as quickly followed by the realization that what my experienced may well have been a shock wave emanating from an explosive attack on the US Capitol, less than a mile down the road. I quickly went to the front door where I could ascertain that the capitol was, in fact, still there, and that there was no visible damage anywhere within view.
It did, of course, turn out that what we had felt was, in fact, an earthquake despite us residing on the wrong coast. We escaped unscathed as did Alison's house, apart from several new cracks and a thin layer of plaster dust deposited upon her bed. Several other structures of note in the city were not so lucky. Amongst those was the Washington Monument, which was severely cracked near the top and lost significant pieces of both mortar and stone throughout the monument.
I returned to Shenandoah just in time to weather the effects of Irene, which really turned out to primarily be a large rainstorm for us, largely indistinguishable from other large storms except for the duration (this was significantly longer than others).
These events certainly would have been enough to make for a notable and interesting week, but the week was made more significant for Alison and I because it also marked the anniversary of the official beginning of our dating relationship a year ago. On Thursday I hiked the trail where we first kissed and I later proposed one year after the former took place. On Friday she surprised me by arriving at the visitor center just before I got off of work, having driven out to the park to spend the evening with me.
Sandwiched in between the aforementioned natural disturbances, these joyous moments officially cemented this as a most memorable week indeed!