All day the rabbit patch has looked like a scene from “Wuthering Heights”. It has been gray and breezy- and the rain has been constant. Now, the wind has picked up and is wuthering through out the territory. The rushing sound it makes, is quite nerve-racking and makes you expect a great crash to follow. We still have electricity and the old house is keeping us dry and safe. The old trees are like stalwart warriors taking the brunt of the fierce wind, to protect the old house. I love those old trees and consider them friends.
Tonight is the night we were warned about. The rabbit patch is not near a river, but several creeks lie in all directions. The road may flood on either side, I suppose. I mostly worry about the trees. I expect the oldest barn may lose some tin and the yard will be full of debris. The wind is expected to blow into Sunday-and the rain is supposed to fall the whole time.
I am thankful we have “current” as my Pop would say. The countryside is dark at night anyway and when all power is out it is truly pitch dark. It is an eerie atmosphere on such occasions.
The Farm Life community is a united one- and at first light, some of the men will be surveying the damage and a plan will be devised to address everyones’ needs. It has been that way since my first day here. Tractors and heavy equipment will clear the road first thing. Generators will keep freezers running and have been known to get passed around the neighborhood in shifts.
As thankful as I was for electricity, we have just lost ours. Candles have been lit and placed in front of mirrors to magnify their little flames. The farmhouse when so dimly lit and the wind billowing around it, seems even older tonight. No one ever forgets such nights. It is as if, the mind is on “high alert” and details are gathered and stored without any great effort. How differently life must have been lived before electricity.
The wind means business tonight. It blows wildly over the rabbit patch as if it were evening an old score. The pine trees are not whispering, as they do in June, but seem to roar, instead. The oak leaves rattle and the sycamores hiss.
Seeds will be scattered tonight like confetti. In the spring, I will know of their destiny -for I will find flowers and bushes growing that my hand did not plant. It is about the only good thing I know to say about a hurricane. . . but it is a beautiful truth.
The Next Morning. . . .
I woke early, anxious to survey the results of the storm. The wind was still blowing and the air it brought was about cold. It was still raining, but it wasn’t falling in sheets anymore. We still did not have power.
The trees were all still standing, and I was so thankful for that. Leaves were lying all over the ground-most of them green, denied of their chance to flash their autumn glory this year. A few sections of the picket fence needs repairing, but that is always the case, it seems.
I came back in and and slept a while longer without guilt as not having water stops most chores. I woke several hours later under the same conditions. I began reading Gladys Taber’s, Stillmeadow Road– a favorite of mine. I must have read it fourteen times. The rain stopped finally around chapter five and the sun did shine briefly-though the wind has not ceased yet.
The cell phone is low on battery and so for now must be reserved for emergencies. The rabbit patch does seem like its’ “own island” just now, but most everyone in this area is in the same situation.
In the absence of leaves, sunlight is falling where shade used to and it seems peculiar. Usually, this is a gradual occurrence, so for it to happen suddenly, seems odd and a bit disorienting.
After Morning. . .
I ate ice cream for lunch, as the power is still off, I felt I was doing a good deed as ice cream can not survive low temperature, and I try not to be wasteful by habit. I grabbed it quickly, so as not to let any cold air escape. The sunshine did not last and I have almost finished reading the book. The wind has lost some punch. I can write, but I can not publish, so I fear I may be writing a book-something I thought I could never do as my focus changes abruptly at times. I miss water. I had stored some up, but I see now, we will surely run out. “Water,water everywhere, but not a drop to drink!”
As the sun was setting. . .
It is early evening and still there is wind. I did make several piles of branches. I will invite Rae over for an autumn fire, when things are cleared up. Rae loves to build a fire. Cash ran with the wind while I was cleaning the yard and seemed to like that kind of play. A kind neighbor with a generator, charged my cell and computer. I made several calls already. Everyone is ok. I heard grim news. We are not expected to have power for at least several days . A neighbor, I call “princess Leyta” rode a bike and reported snapped electric poles in standing water and felled trees too. It is about impossible to travel very far in any direction and there is no gas anyway. I can not complain as we are all safe and damage here is minimal . Neighboring towns on rivers are flooded so I am ashamed now, that I felt sad that there wasn’t a single berry left on the french mulberry bushes. Before it is dark, I am filling the lamps with oil. The kitchen table holds all sorts of necessities from oil lamps to flashlights-and candles. I am already missing light now, as well as water.
Night, After the First Day. . .
It is just eight o’clock and so very dark. A silver half-moon and a handful of stars lend some light to the soaking wet yard . My neighbor, Susan brought me supper. Susan is thoughtful like that. They cooked on the grill. I plan to take her sausage and eggs tomorrow. I have never learned to cook on a grill. With four sons, I have never had to. I miss them all especially tonight. Jenny and Will are fine, but had some damage to their home. I miss them too. Hurricanes are so much more bearable with family around. It seems, I will finish reading my book by the insignificant light of an oil lamp tonight-but, I am glad for it.
The sun is out making up for lost time. Kyle made it home and what a difference that makes for me. The closest town to me is up and running, I hear, so that will make a difference to me too. Today, I will write letters to some people not seen in a while. The art of writing a good letter is surely about lost . It ought not to be because it is so much more personal than a text or an email- even a phone call. Only the heart can write a letter. I plan to organize the little barn I use for storage today- and I am going to start a new book.
About Noon. . .
I did get the barn in better shape. The weather is pleasant and I am glad for that. We are neither too cool nor too hot. The sky looks like the familiar brilliant blue found only in October. Miss Susie who gives me flowers, called to say they were bringing over a generator! The contents of the freezer will be saved and maybe I can have water for a while. I will sure make the best of that time! Susan sent breakfast with coffee! My heart is grateful all over again for the Farm Life community. oh!- Someone said they saw utility trucks early this morning.
Later in the afternoon. . .
I have bathed, washed dishes, charged electronics and made coffee, thanks to the generosity of Miss Susie and her family. I must go on rumors now, as I still do not have access to the official reports, but what I hear is that many are in a far worse state than I am in. Most everywhere is terribly flooded and helicopter rescues are taking place south of the rabbit patch
. Many people have lost everything they owned. I dare not complain, in light of this news.
The Second Night . . .
Kyle cooked supper on the grill , by the light of the sunset. We had sausage, eggs and some navy beans from the freezer, that just needed warming. We ate by an oil lamp and it was a good combination, after all. It feels so much better now, with the boys home. Christopher Robin brought a kitten with him for supper. I was not looking for another cat, but it is a tuxedo cat and my grandmama loved one just like it. Of course, this one is skiddish now, but I can see that the cats are fond of one another, so it seems I may have another cat at the rabbit patch.
The dawn is just beautiful today. The air is crisp so that I thought it would shatter when I opened the back door. It is very still at the rabbit patch, not a leaf trembles, though I did hear a cardinal whistle. The new morning ritual is to gather the lamps and candles, used the night before and put them back on the kitchen table. I will be glad when they go back in the pantry. I plan to clean a closet, finish reading my second book and look for the kitten, all before noon.
The morning was as productive as I had hoped-though I didn’t find the kitten. Several neighbors have been by, checking to see if all was well here. One of them, Mr Gerald is a retired linemen and he has been keeping up with the progress of the repairs. He encouraged me that ” it would’t be as long as it has been”. I have about gotten used to this state of being, though I miss water dreadfully, still. I told Christian, the next time I start complaining, I am going to cut the water off for several hours!