As I write this, it is “pitch dark” out. The world is quiet and the sky is starless. I needed a bit more, than the usual time, to collect my thoughts, today, and so I rose before the “crack of dawn”. On top of everything else, another storm is headed his way. Far be it from me to complain at all, for we are likely to fair much better than Florida. School will be dismissed early, just in case of flooded streets.
On the way home, the wind had picked up. Leaves filled the air, like an “autumn confetti”. The country road, that runs by quiet pastures and fields, is lined with the bright yellow golden rod and wild yellow daisies, just now. There are also the floss flowers, and so, how very lovely the drive was. A light rain was falling from a sky the color of pewter .
Really, the forecast did not call for conditions that seemed too threatening. We still had the most of our supplies from the last hurricane . Of course, weather governs itself and sets its’ course, as it pleases. Some of the worst circumstances, have caught us off guard. I know now what a “downdraft storm” is. They come on quick and will scare the most stalwart hearts. When it is over, we all come out shocked , with pale faces. Several times, this has happened at the “rabbitpatch”. It is something you do not forget. The wind swoops in and tears up everything from porches to old trees, in a matter of minutes. Things not nailed down are retrieved from the edge of the fields and of course we lose power – yet a mile away, nothing is disturbed. The straight line winds are a mighty force that somehow manage to show up like an unexpected guest. The only sign, I know of, is a dramatic and sudden drop in temperature.
For many years, a small horse, named “Comanche” was pastured right across the road. He was a beautiful pinto and carried himself like a prince. I learned early on to watch him, if I had any doubts about weather. He would stop grazing and become very alert, when all seemed well. Next, he would snort and finally break into a gallop, kicking his heels ever so often. That is when I would take shelter and collect things prone to flying away. I saw this on many occasions . . .and Comanche was never wrong.
Thankfully, the afternoon passed with a few showers and mild but gusty winds. A few sycamores lost branches small enough, that I could gather them, easily. More will fall tonight, as the storm is expected to pick up. The evening skies looked wicked, as if they were giving fair warning.
I packed two more boxes. I am expecting the closing of the sale, to happen within six weeks, or before. It is odd, but being in this temporary state has become familiar, almost. So many things have transpired in the last month. Brynn was born, a hurricane descended, and Daddy has some health concerns. I have found a dear little cottage on a tree lined street and am in the process of buying it. For now, I do not feel I can say much more. There remains a lot of mystery, yet to be determined.
Another odd thing, with so many things out of control, we are forced to relinquish whatever power, we may think we have. I am always amused that humans think they have so much say in everything. How exhausting it is. to bear such a burden. It is true, that we have some influence, and we ought to consider that as we go along. We are certainly accountable for how we conduct ourselves. Our actions do have an impact, usually. . .but often, we do what we can and really must just hope for the best. While this is the undoing of some folks, it has actually been very liberating for me. I think praying is the most powerful thing we can do. I needn’t lose sleep or imagine dire prospects, but instead can trust the outcome. There is an old hymn, we sang many Sundays at church, when I was a child, and the words ring as true now,as they did then . . . “Sweet Hour of Prayer”. I knew all of the hymns by heart, as a child -and they pop up now and then as needed, it seems. I can hear the congregation in the little church – and the piano, Miss Arahbelle played for a half century. . . and my mamas’ clear soprano, clear and at perfect pitch – even so, I was so very bored at church, as a child. Besides , my dresses were itchy and the cute patent leathers were hard and pinched. The night before, we slept in rollers, for Mama never gave up the notion of me having curls, though it did not work for me as it did my sister. Long prayers made me want to cry -and I knew which elder prayed the longest. I tried so hard to stay focused during prayers, for I so wanted to be good, but often I was thinking about riding my pony when I got home, or what Grandmama was cooking. . . I am glad for it now, after all.
By early evening, the wind came. It blew steadily with a slight hint of malice. We lost power, so Christian and I scrambled to the pantry to find the candles and flashlights. I must admit, I was not expecting this. Thankfully, we had at least eaten. The air was chilly and I felt like , at long last October had arrived – with a lot of fanfare. It was “as dark as sin” outside and so we could only wonder what all the bumping and crashing sounds meant. We went to bed earlier than usual, under the circumstances, sure the power would come on shortly, jolting us from our sleep.
The power did not come back on. It was still out when I woke before the first light. As soon as I could see, I went out to survey the territory. The place was littered with branches and I needed a jacket! I made several piles of debris. Then I heard my neighbor calling her dog and realised, he was missing. We looked a good while, but there wasn’t a trace of him. I am hoping he shows back up, shortly. It is mid morning now, and the power has not been restored. I have regretted not stockpiling water, several times, already.
The day is as lovely as has ever been. The sky is a crystal clear blue. The sun is bright and makes cheerful patterns on the grass, that are ever changing due to the light wind, that now stirs the oak branches playfully. The neighborhood is mostly quiet. I have heard that there is widespread power outage and I crane my ear, to hear the joyful arrival of the linemen. So far, I only hear an occasional dog in the distance.
I will be leaving at some point, for Elizabeth City. I have not seen my grandchildren in two weeks, and I miss them. I hope to get some use of the double stroller, as the forecast is so friendly for such things. Little Brynn is already a month old, as of yesterday and Lyla refuses to line up from the playground, at preschool, as of recently. I am sure that Brynn has grown and that Lyla has a perfectly sound explanation, for her behavior . . .and it couldn’t hurt to listen.
I spent this weekend at the rabbit patch, in Farm Life, amongst the old trees, the young woods and the abandoned little pasture. It has been a long while since I was here on a weekend. Needless to say, I was quite behind in housekeeping, weeding and there is always the packing.
Tres came home on Friday night and oh, how good it felt to see him. Tres lives in Wilmington, where that hateful hurricane made landfall. To see him, safe and sound, did wonders for me. Listening to his story and seeing the pictures of the devastation was heartbreaking. Tres said he saw all sorts of things on the way home, that saddened him. Possessions, once treasured, now in heaps on lawns, many old trees felled and homes draped in large tarps, where roofs used to be. The older I get, the more tender my heart grows, and it was difficult not to weep.
I was up early on Saturday. I saw the dawn creep up the horizon, over the tree line at the back of the field, til finally light came tumbling over the oldest barn, and into the ” Quiet Garden”. I drank in the smell of October, the pungent smell of goldenrod and the earthiness of the fallen leaves. I thought about a lot of things, and once collected, these thoughts became prayers. My prayers now, bear little resemblance to the prayers of my youth. They are no longer the substance of what I desire or what I think I need. I no longer give God advice on how to fix something. Hence, my prayers are simpler. I say “thank you” ,” help me”, and “show me” and am convinced . . .this is enough. . .but people ought to pray as they are led to.
i commenced to pulling weeds, in the cool morning air. I cut a few vines and then came in , to make coffee, knowing Tres would be up shortly. Breakfast with Tres is a special occasion . We always talk while I am cooking, while we are eating and then while we linger a long time, over coffee. Tres never fails to provide interesting conversations that cause me to ponder all sorts of things.
Tres left for Elizabeth City, to meet Brynn, not long after the noon hour.
When Tres left, I decided to pack up the china in the cabinet. It is a cream colored china with a large pale pink rose and a bud, in a spray of life like greenery. It belonged to my grandmother, and that is what it makes valuable to me. For all I know, she may have collected it in laundry detergent boxes, years ago. One of my earliest memories, is coming home from the grocery store and opening a box of detergent powder to see the dish inside. You never knew what you were getting and we all took turns with the privilege of opening the boxes. It was a delightful practice and it is too bad it got replaced with “stamps”to be placed on little cards for discounts on groceries. However Grandmama got her dishes, I love them. I did not want to remove them as I thought an empty china cabinet, would be such a pitiful sight for all of the “official” people traipsing through the house these days. . . but, the dishes really were some of the few things left, that I could do without. I marked the boxes, “Grandmamas’ china -please be careful.” and then I stacked them neatly in a corner.
I did not rise so early on Sunday. The world was bathed in a silvery fog . Christian was at work, Kyle spent the weekend away and Tres had spent the night in Elizabeth City. I called Mama while I had coffee, to see how their night had been, for as of lately, conditions have not been favorable, for Daddy – therefore Mama, too. There are several stories now, not yet ready for telling. Details are missing and waiting to be revealed. . . Daddys’ story is one of them. Thankfully, they had a good night.
I took pictures off the walls, and started packing them up. Later, I went back to the yard, then I came in and packed some more boxes. Tres stopped by briefly, on his way back to Wilmington. He said Brynn had taken several naps in his arms. Lyla had done a fair share of entertaining him, too.
When Tres left, it seemed to me that the weekend was over. Even the sun dimmed in agreement. I thought I smelled the faint scent of rain, coming through the open window, by the “morning table”. October, true to every month of the year, has behaved oddly. It remains hot and frost will likely be late, this year. No one dares carve a pumpkin just yet.
At last, I ran out of packing tape. I put things back in order and started preparing for tomorrow, for it is Monday, after all, and that changes everything. . .out of the kitchen window, I noticed a light rain was falling.
Somehow, Friday became a “red letter day” for me. It all started, when my sister, Delores decided on a visit with Mama and Daddy. She planned to take them to see Brynn, my newest grand daughter on Friday. I found out later, that Friday was a teacher work day, which are the easiest days to take off, and so I could go too. Christian asked for the day off . . and got it! This was a big surprise and a delightful one too. We made plans to bring lunch and then, Connie, my youngest sister called. Her plans had changed and she could come too! Now, it seemed like a holiday.
Of course they all adored Brynn and as it turns out, most everyone brought gifts for her and Lyla, too. After lunch, we took a short drive around the Riverside Village. We had pumpkin cheesecake when we got back, and sat on the porch. It was a lovely day and well worth me taking time off. I was as “happy as a lark” ever dared to be.
Saturday, dawned bright and cool. Oh, how I welcomed the coolness. September had been every bit as hot as August, yet this morning kept me from holding a grudge. Squirrels were working extra hard gathering acorns and rushing hither and yonder. They made daring leaps from tree to tree, unhindered by my presence. They were a frantic lot, and I had to wonder what the next fortnight held in store. This may be a common practice for squirrels at this time of the year, for all I know, as the country squirrels do not lead such a social life. They spend their lives in the woods and unless you rise before the sun, you would doubt their existence at all . . . unless you have an apple tree.
Saturday passed without a lot of fanfare. It was a quiet day mostly, and full of the usual things – like housekeeping. Miss Claudia came for a quick visit. We had ice cream and adored the grandchildren.
Sunday was a beautiful day. The “laughing river was specially blue. The sky was filled with large puffy clouds. By mid morning, I had gone to the grocery, which is just a few minutes from the Will and Jennys’ home. I did exercise haste this time as I was determined to have a beef stew on to simmer all day. Will loves beef stew over rice. Jenny loves cheesecake, so I made her a banana cream one.
Not long after lunch, Jenny and I took Lyla and Brynn on a stroll to the river. It was a new stroller, designed for two children. Lyla was very excited to have Brynn with us. I was too. Brynn was as quiet as a “church mouse” throughout our walk. Lyla said she was going to teach Brynn about flowers and trees and birds. I placed great stock in that. Remarkably, we actually saw a bald eagle, moments later! He was a young one perched in a tree, by the river. I have never seen one in the village, but a neighbor said there were several pairs of them sighted this year. Lyla was no more impressed with the national bird, than she is with a redbird.
After our “time in the sun” we enjoyed the beef stew – Will especially. I made an ample amount, so he could eat til his heart was content, for a few days. The cheesecake, was just right, even if it was a no bake one. My sister, Connie, loves cheesecake, but will “turn her nose” at the no bake variety. This one might, could change her mind.
At dusk, the air got cool enough, to prove it was October. Wild geese are flying now, with great regularity. A flock flew overhead, sounding their alarm, as they went. I always remember Rachel Fields’ poem, “Something Told the Wild Geese” in October. There is a wonderful flow to this poem, and it rhymes, which I strongly prefer, in a poem.
Monday came along, and that changed everything. Back again, I went across three rivers, past quiet pastures and the now, golden fields. Farmers are picking corn now. . . and wild geese are flying, I thought. Somehow, it is October. I do not like to “wish time away”, for it passes slyly enough, as it is. . . but I do love the time, when leaves turn colors, like amber – and orange -and bright yellow. The lowly sweet gum, will be in its’ glory, shortly. I love the frost that makes the old fields shine and twinkle in the morning light-and wilts the hateful thorn vines. I agree with Anne of Green Gables . . .for I too am so very glad to “live in a world, where there are Octobers.”
I returned to the rabbitpatch on Sunday evening. Brant rode back with me and it was a nice change to have company . . . especially his. We were both somber as both of us had enjoyed our time together. For me, it was a mixed bag of emotions. I had left Jenny with an empty laundry hamper, clean sheets on all the beds and her pantry full. Brant had cleaned the house, down to the floors and hung fall decorations on the porch. The freezer had several dinners in it, that would only require warming up and Lyla had enough “honey cakes for the week . . .but the fact remained that I had left Jenny.
Now the other part of the circumstances was that I had sorely missed Kyle, Christian, my dog, Cash and the cat, Christopher Robin. It seems no matter what, I am always missing somebody.
School has resumed, here. . . and the ginger lilies are blooming . The fragrance of a ginger lily is unforgettable. It is a romantic and intoxicating scent. One evening, more than a decade ago, I was on the front porch at twilight, and the air was thick with a scent that reminded me of gardenias . . and oranges . . and honeysuckle all combined. I could not for the life of me, figure out the origin was of this delightful fragrance. I knew the rabbitpatch, like the “back of my hand” and hadn’t noticed any new blooms. I smelled them the next evening too and I decided I would make it my business to find out what it was. My neighbor then, was Miss Jenny, who was also the lady, I had purchased the property from. She had lived here a good deal of her life and was an avid gardener. Her yard was a showstopper and she was always tending it. The next morning, I asked her and she laughed a little and said, “that would be the ginger lilies.” And she showed me her bed of them. They are not so common in nurseries, but a year or so later, I found them. They are pricey and the flowers themselves are unimpressive to look at, but to breathe in the scent of a ginger lily, will melt the heart of a gardener as much as any rose.
The floss flowers are blooming, too. There are masses of them all over the rabbitpatch. I love the fairy like blossoms but can never decide if they are blue or lavender.
I plan to take some of the floral darlings with me. It would be a good time now to pot a few up, but the mosquitoes are out in record numbers. Just to walk to the car, requires constant swatting . . and the rascals are as big as I have ever seen them. I do not trust mosquitoes and am convinced they are the root of all sorts of illness, no matter what the experts say. . .but what a shame it is to be cooped up in the house when a full moon is rising over the field.
Officially, it is autumn. Those who depend on a calendar will agree, but those who depend on nature, as I do, are only now seeing the faintest changes, and not fully convinced. Not yet, has the maple shown any flame of color, but the dogwoods are at least hinting that the season is changing. Here and there little flashes of crimson branches peek out and the berries are red, mostly. The sycamores are beginning to drop leaves- and will do so for months, without mercy. They are a messy lot most of the year, for they will also drop seed pods, the size of plums and they shed their bark as well. . .but when you sit in the shade of a sycamore on a hot day in July, you will forgive them readily for their many transgressions.
It is still hot here. Not yet, have we needed even a light sweater. The window fan, still earns its’ keep. According to the “Old Farmers’ Almanac”, it will not feel like autumn, for a few more weeks. Time will tell as it always does, but they are never wrong. . .and neither is the maple.
There is a season changing, at least for me. I am packing boxes, after all. The laundry room is piled high, and several corners of the old farmhouse are as well. Things are slowly falling in place and not yet do I not feel anxious, but I remain very curious as to the outcome. . . but I will say this – The winding journey with all its’ twists and turns, does sometimes feel like I have taken the “long way home”.
School is closed due to the storm that flooded a lot of the area. The rabbit patch sits “high and dry”unscathed, thankfully. Mama and Daddy, have a soaked yard, but they too were spared, of major damage. We both live well inland, but the towns nestled by rivers, all around us have really suffered. So has the coast, which is where Tres lives. Tres, still did not have power yesterday. Even so, his home and truck were undamaged, though fallen trees surround him, making it about impossible to leave.
I find it hard to get the plight of those that lost so much, off of my mind. When the water does recede, the aftermath of a flood is tragic. There is the waste to dispose of and then there is the mold, that will surely set in. Recovery is slow and costly. If there is a bright side, it must be the thousands of linemen that come from places like Florida, Virginia and New Jersey, and have been working tirelessly to restore the power. Entire convoys have descended upon the small towns. Tres says these men do not stop to eat, but instead work every hour they can clearing trees from homes and cars. The residents that can, bring them food from their stashed supplies. This moves me deeply and reminds me that there are very kind people in this world and that compassion is alive and well, after all. I am also reminded that heroes cast all types of shadows.
In Elizabeth City, there are only a few flooded streets, as proof, there was a hurricane. The days are overcast and so very humid. Showers fall at any given moment, but there are no complaints at the “original ” rabbitpatch, for the “Rabbit Patch Diary” was partially named for the large rabbit community, I encountered, as Lyla and strolled the village , that first spring of her life. We are spending our days watching little Brynn sleep and smile. Lyla is a sweet sister. Yesterday, she said “I am so excited and I can’t quit feeling that way!” My sentiments, too, Lyla.
One day, we made pumpkin bread and another day, we made oatmeal cookies. We plan to make cinnamon rolls when Brant comes, at the end of the week. Lyla loves baking, but the pimento cheese we made, was just “not her cup of tea”. She has taken to watching all sorts of cake decorating shows . I suspect we will soon attempt that shortly, though I am not a fan of artificial colors and will want to use berries and beet juice instead.
On Wednesday morning, the day dawned fair. For the first time in over a week, there was sunshine casting long slanted rays, on the Riverside village. A flock of wild geese broke the silence of the first hours trumpeting as they flew over the “laughing river”, which is on its’ usual course today. Some young squirrels were making the most of the acorns that came unfastened during the storm. A flock of Robins foraged for all sorts of delicacies, unearthed when the river spilled over. . .and a cool breeze blew chasing the hateful humidity away. It was a beautiful morning and I regretted that mornings didn’t last all day.
I had business to conduct in the late morning. Thankfully all went well. My regular readers know that I am not a fan of any thing official or associated with “documents” -still it is impossible to avoid such tasks. Jenny, Brynn, Lyla and I sat on the porch after lunch as the day continued to be a pleasant one. A steady, cool breeze never ceased to blow merrily throughout the day. The wind tossed the willow tree tendrils in a spectacular production. They reminded me of ribbons loosened in some sort of celebration. How good it felt outside, at last.Brant and Sydney came on Thursday. I was on cloud nine . . .or ten. Lyla was so happy to see them that she declined the chance to make cupcakes. Of course, we have several special items on the menu, to celebrate . Lyla asked me for a “piping bag” when I went to the grocery, so I suppose, the cupcakes will be made in the near future. Sydney loves cheese biscuits , Brant loves rutabagas. . . and everybody loves cinnamon rolls.
A lot of schools have been operating on an altered schedule, and some have not opened at all. Recovery is a slow and tedious work and my heart goes out to the ones, looking for a place to stay, in the process. The ads read, something like, “family with two small children and a dog seeking a temporary residence’. Some people that evacuated, have not yet been back to see what the final results were, for their home. Roads are still closed and so they must wait and hope for the best. It is a tiresome plight for all. Even here, where all is well, groceries have no produce and milk just came in the last few days. I can not imagine the conditions, where entire towns can not be entered. I suspect that even the “hardest of hearts” will be grateful, when all is restored to our former way of living.
Meanwhile, little Brynn is adored and celebrated. Jenny is pampered and Lyla is reassured of her own worth, for we adore her , too . . .and as much as ever. I stay busy with household chores, for I want Jenny to just enjoy her children – and to recover, for this is a sacred time, if there ever was one.
Is there a happier time in your life, than when a baby is born? Oh how good it is to write, that Jenny and little Brynn are home and all is well.
The hurricane has thrown a kink in our original plans. I was to go stay with Jenny, after they came home, however Will and Jenny debated whether to stay put or stay at Miss Claudias’ home, under the circumstances. Will and Jennys’ home is just across the street from the laughing river. Their home is built up, well above ground level, but there is a lot of water in that river. Miss Claudia lives a very few miles away, but it is a much safer distance from the Pasquotank river. What a predicament we are all in! I have not held my little grandchild yet and can hardly bear that. My presence at the rabbit patch will hardly change the outcome of this storm, – and Kyle and Christian are encouraging me to go ahead and leave -so I am very torn. What if one of the ” warriors” (the ancient oaks) falls in this battle -or Mama and Daddy have an emergency? This is a quandary, if there ever was one.
I was cooking cabbage and a pot of beans at five am on Wednesday. We are bound to lose power, and I have not forgotten, the two weeks we went without it, now eight years ago. Kyle is handy with a grill, thankfully and the barns provide shelter, to cook beneath. I can at least make sure, the boys do not starve. . .neither will Cash, my boxer nor Christopher Robin, my cat. I stocked piled dog and cat food, a few days ago.
No one can sit at the kitchen table, for it has become a station for all sorts of supplies. This has always been our routine. The table is laden with batteries, flash lights, candles, and all kinds of prepackaged foods, that I usually never buy. There are also paper plates, paper towels and the popular “wipes”. It pained me to buy the paper products, as I am on a quest to live “green”, but without water, such things will be useful and I did at least buy the “eco friendly” type.
As I went about the business of tending to provisions and planning the duties outside to tend to, the weather man , was giving the latest details of the current projected track of “Hurricane Florence”. It seems the thing is now expected to land much further south than previously thought. I declare he seemed a bit downcast about it. I suppose saying things like “partly cloudy” day after day, does leave room for boredom. I of course felt a lot of relief, but also pity for folks south of us. We will still have a hurricane, but the forecast is a lot less serious now, than it was last night. I think I am going to Elizabeth City, after all.
I arrived in Elizabeth City mid afternoon. I wanted to run in the door to meet little Brynn and hug Jenny, but I wanted to make sure that Lyla knew, I was as glad to see her as ever I had been. At this particular time, I do not think it has crossed Lylas’ mind to feel jealous. That may come, but for now Lyla is in love with her little sister and wants to share her with everyone.
It will come as no surprise to you to know that Brynn is beautiful. She has clear dark skin and a crown of dark silky hair that frames her perfectly, angelic face. She favors Lyla a lot, which thrills all of us. There is just something about the birth of a child in a family that changes everything. Everyone is happy and full of hope. It reunites us all over again, in heart – and reminds us all that we belong deeply to one another. Birth remains a wonder, no matter how much this world changes.
Today is Thursday and the expected day for the hurricane to make landfall. . .well technically it is expected very early Friday morning. We are no longer in the direct path of the storm, as was first predicted. .. .still we prepared for power outages. I made a big pot of chicken soup and bought the ingredients for pimento cheese and beef stew. Will brought Miss Claudia over to stay. Miss Claudia brought all sorts of things – food -books and -crafting supplies, so the house is well stocked and we have things to do “come what may”.
All day the wind blew and the laughing river tumbled in the opposite direction that it usually does. Light rain fell off and on all day. Brynn was quiet as a little mouse. Lyla did well, to have been confined all day. Lyla adores Brynn and “makes no bones about it”. We went to bed wondering what the first hours of the day held in store.
I woke early and was on the porch in the first moments of my day. I surveyed the landscape and noted the river was on the same unusual trek. The water churned restlessly, creating whitecaps and the water was a deep lavender. A lone boat bobbed like a cork, in the busy water, near the opposite shore.
As soon as the light crept into the Riverside Village, I called Kyle and Christian who reported all of the old trees had made it through the storm. The house stood firm and had once again done its’ duty to shelter my family. Mama and Daddy shared the same good news, that all was well with them.
I could not reach Tres, who lives in Wilmington, where the storm made actual landfall, and of course, this worried me to no end.
The little town, just fifteen minutes from the rabbit patch, where I work did not fair so well. Everywhere was flooded and folks were without power. The small town, was even mentioned on the national reports. The “Original Washington” suffered a lot of damage. There has not been such results since 1954, when a hurricane named “Hazel” struck the small town. I still remember hearing my grandparents talk about that storm.
Lyla and I made “honeycakes” for breakfast. Jenny woke up with “pink eye”. A local pharmacist agreed to fill a prescription, so Will and Miss Claudia set off after breakfast to pick it up. Jenny and I checked on loved ones. We finally heard from Tres, who will be without power for a long time, as trees were down in every direction, but he was fine and had food and water.
I made chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Chicken soup is good for many ailments and I thought it would be especially good for Jenny, since Brynn was born just days ago.
I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen, which pleased me. I made a beef stew that simmered til it was more than “fork tender”. It would be served over rice, with cabbage and cornbread, for supper.
I also made a special dish for Miss Claudia. It is an orange and coconut concoction that stirs memories of her childhood . . and Christmas.
When the kitchen was clean, and the house quiet, I finally looked at the pictures of the devastation. I thought of my cousin Phillip, who was recently in an awful accident, and suffering with so much pain. It was all heartbreaking and I was full of sorrow for everyone. This prompted me to pray til I at last fell asleep.