Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BIG Storm and Life Unplugged

Let me just put a 'Rambling Post Warning" up right now....you have been warned.

Let's just start.
First, I love storms.  I love the sheer awesome strength, power, beauty of them...wind, snow, thunder...I love them all.
Friday night we had one.  BIG thunder, BIG wind and rain.  The electric went out almost immediately.  No problem.  Light some candles and be happy.  I wandered from window to window watching, enjoying.  It started about 8:30 pm  and continued to go strong until it was full dark, which only makes the lightning more impressive.
Electric being out is usually not a problem for us.  We live in the middle of our small town.  2 doors down from the school.  5 minute walk to hospital and/or courthouse.  Our electric is usually restored pretty quickly, so as the storm quieted down we blew out the candles, fired up the flashlights and read in bed as usual.
Woke up the next morning to find out we still didn't have electric.  Curious, I quickly put my tennies on and went out to take my morning walk and explore.  At the end of our driveway I see that it's a good thing I am walking because both ends of our street are blocked with downed trees and wires.  Hmmmmm.  Wonder what else happened....keep walking and discover that we had a BIG storm all over town.  Many roads were blocked.  Leaves and branches everywhere.  When I got home we cranked up the emergency crank it up radio and found out that the entire state had a BIG storm and the governor had declared a state of emergency for the entire state. Seems we had a thing called a 'derecho' come through...from like Columbus to Washington, DC.

Second, as I looked at the downed trees I began to think.  As the storm was going on, I was talking to the trees I could see and encouraging them to be flexible and remember how strong they were and how deep their roots were...I know, not normal....but all 'my' trees are still standing!  Many of the trees I saw down had rot in their centers.  Many had big healthy branches snapped off because they didn't bend, weren't flexible and I thought that life is like that.  The people who stand strong in life's storms are flexible, rooted and have no rot in their centers...right?  I think my center is healthy and I am rooted, but I'm probably not as flexible as I could maybe be.

Third, it took 4 whole hot days to get our electric back on and I found out that life unplugged has some benefits.  I have been going through a season of unrest, floundering in the pace of life around me.  Everyone, everything was speeding along and I couldn't get in, I couldn't join.  I would get close and just get side swiped and left spinning and confused.  I wanted to run away.

 Then, no electric...life unplugged...everything slowed down.  And in the dark and the heat, I found a way to get in.  I got things done.  I found my place again...my peace.
We spent evenings sitting on the steps on the front stoop reading until the light faded.  Our neighbors sat outside, too.  I got a glimpse of what it was like in so many of the storied I read and loved as a child, about neighborhoods with stoops or front porches where living in community took place...A Tree Grows in Brooklyn comes to mind.  It was nice.
The rhythm of the days was more connected to real life and I liked it.  Earlier to bed, earlier to rise, living in the rooms that were getting the most light during the day...

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't like cold showers and only room temperature water to drink, but the rest of it I could work with ... well, at least for the 4 days we lived life unplugged.

I also love the way so many people shine in an emergency.  I have seen big electricity fixing trucks and crews here in my town from as far away as New York and Florida....even today, the 4th of July.  They missed their cook outs to help here...love that.

Anyway, all in all it was a good experience.

Thanks for rambling with me through this post...

14 comments:

Amy said...

I was without electric for 3 days. It was hot in the house although I did have warm showers, but who wants that when it is 95? I just tried to remember that I was thankful I still had a house and a car as many people in the western fires and eastern storms now dont. Still praying for all those linemen who are working in this heat so far from home on a holiday and those who are still without power.

Donna said...

We are the lucky ones, aren't we? Blessed, really. We are having storms in the area again tonight....so far they have been northern PCounty and southern PCounty and not central....

Baa-Me Kniits said...

Mother Nature is awesome isn't she and something like a big storm just reminds us and we are humble. So glad you are OK and it was just power you had to deal with. We have a generator for such emergencies because our water is run on an electric pump but it is still nice to downsize on the electric stuff and go back to the old ways. Hooray for all the folks who stepped in and fixed it all up for you. And of course Happy Fourth of July!

Donna said...

Thanks, Jenni, for the 4th of July wishes. Sometimes I forget that all of my friends don't live here! Lots of people here were using generators, too....you could drive around and tell where the electric was still out because you could hear the generators.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

It was a powerful storm. I am glad you are okay... better than okay. I love that you found some peace in the quiet. Blessings and hugs ~ tanna

Donna said...

Thanks, Tanna....sometimes the storms in life settle us, don't they?

K said...

I looked up derecho and realized that there are still very big realities I've never even heard of yet. VERY big realities. We had a super cell come over our place many years ago - I was caught in the middle of it, on the way to check on the horses - had to pull over to the side of a road that often has big trucks going up and down, because -- well, I'd been about three blocks behind some of those trucks, and I'd seen all their brake lights go on suddenly. I was wondering what was going on when I realized that there was a sudden gusting of wind, blowing dirt across the road up there.

I watched the line of that wind come down the street at me - it took seconds - and when it hit, the car became my entire world. It was rocking and shaking - all windows completely obscured with dark and rain and dirt. I wondered if this was finally the tornado I'd always feared, and if the car was going to get lifted up into the air. Or if I was going to get smashed from behind by a truck pulling off, blind.

I gave it time - seconds? minutes? this was a street I had driven a thousand times, and I couldn't remember where I was when the storm literally hit me - too used to it to have noticed. I finally made a U-turn, crawling speed, and headed away back up the road - I hoped. Several seconds later, the air cleared a bit and I found myself in the front parking of a nursing home.

When I could see, I turned again, heading for my horses - they were no longer in the pasture. I turned into the drive, and there they were, huddled in the lea of the barn - which is metal - and was still, miraculously, standing. I saw to them, then drove home - through a different world: power poles snapped off in rows, trees uprooted, windows broken.

But our house, two blocks north of the outside of the cell, looked like nothing had happened. Our electric was out, and they were saying it would take a week to come back. So I drove to Sears IMMEDIATELY and bought the very last generator they had. We fired it up, connected it to the house - and the electric came back on. We ended up driving south into the center of the cell path, found a house that we liked the look of (turned out a policeman lived there) and offered the use of the generator to them. They ran their house and the house next door off that thing for the next four days.

It was wild.

Donna said...

I might not love big storms so much if I was outside in one!
I checked with people who live in our new La Ti Da neighborhood and they weren't without for very long at all. The utilities are all underground so that has to help.
Did you see some of the pictures from the fires in Colorado? Whole sections of neighborhoods burned to ashes on the ground...with one or two houses in the middle standing as if nothing had happened...that has to make you think.
We had lots of people sharing and giving and helping here, too, with generators and showers and freezer space...it's good.
Aren't you happy when you find out you don't know everything yet?

W-S Wanderings said...

Oh my. Those storms sure make a person think, don't they? I'm glad you weathered it well and I LOVE that you talked your trees through it. And found your center. When Eldest was a baby, we experienced a massive ice storm. The electricity was out for days and days - in the middle of the winter - which actually wasn't so bad for us cuz we heat with wood AND use a wood cookstove, but it sure messed a lot of others up.

I hope your state recovers soon.

Hugs...

Donna said...

It has been a week and one day and my county still has about 1200 people without electricity...
Tell me about your wood cookstove. I might want one in my new house that has an old soul.

no spring chicken said...

This is NOT rambling.. in fact I think it's wisdom jumping right from His Spirit, through you, to me (us). I pray that when we find that place that God wants to remind us exists... we either stay there, or at the very least, remember that it exists and that we can find it again! Enjoy it sweet sister.

Blessings, Debbie

Donna said...

Thanks, Debbie. You have such a way of capturing and saying what I meant so well. Resting in peace.
Still about 50,000 people without electric in WV, since June 29!

Rachel said...

That storm which took our huge wooden swing/playset and threw it across the yard smashing it into a million pieces. Our basketball standard may feet away and thrown into the ditch, the neighbors car under a tree...... That storm was amazing!!! Water flooding under my door and through my windows, our whole yard covered in a river of water....

And when it was over, my boys heading out to see who all needed help and if the widows in the area were okay..... that part was the best.......

Donna said...

I love that, too...how a big storm calls out the very best in people...to help others. I can remember big snow storms where we would dig one person on the street out and they would go and get the milk and bread for whoever needed it on the street. There are good people around us.