On Monday. we spent the whole day, preparing for bad weather. The kitchen table was laden with candles, water, snacks and flashlights. Over the years, we adopted this habit of supplies being in one place. I had made cookies on a whim and cooked a big supper . . .just in case.
Things liable to fly, were all secured ourside. Whether Isias was a tropical storm or a hurricane, when it arrived, we were prepared. I was especially glad that Tres was here.
It was midnight when a powerful wind showed up. It had rained off and on, earlier. The air had cooled, but it was the wind that changed everything. None of us could sleep once that wind blew. It was mighty and relentless and reminded you that , though some like to think it, humans are not in control of everything. We will and always have been at the mercy of nature.
There were so many sounds that night. Thuds and snapping and cracking-you had to wonder. I know well, the sound of a tree falling. I did not hear that, but the roaring of the wind muffled the world outside. The power went out around four am. I armed with a flashlight and my devoted dog, opened the back door to peer out. All I saw were branches, huge ones that blocked the view. I could make out that that the sycamores were upright. That was something. I heard generators starting up and regretted, again, that I didn’t have one.
The wind died down within the hour, and so at last, we all slept.
When light came, I woke as usual. I was really tired, but my curiosity spurred me on to rise. Two large limbs about blocked the back door . The territory was strewn with branches, but every tree stood proudly. . .and wonder of wonders , , so did the oldest barn.
I started picking up debris, shortly after. Pecan branches, full of young green nuts, and the sweetgum branches, robbed of autumn glory were everywhere. Tres came next and got the massive sycamore limbs removed. Christian came next and carried the sick dog, “Champ” out to watch. It seemed to perk him up a bit. The last vet visit, confirmed what I had feared. Further testing revealed, that Champ was in his last weeks of life.
One Christmas eve, as it sleeted, Tres came in the door with a tiny pup, peeking out from under his coat. I said immediately, “Please, tell me this is not your puppy.” But it was. Tres said “Mom, I will be responsible.” That never crossed my mind, for I KNEW, I would be the one, that would fall on. Tres went on to say, that he had rescued the pup from a neglectful breeder. The puppy was the runt of a litter, and shivering in the sleet. Tres was upset and mildly, but sternly admonished the young breeder. Tres was told that if he was so worried, then to take the puppy. . . .and so he did.
Champ was adorable. He looked like “the Buster Brown dog” and had such a quirky personality. If a stranger (o him) came in, he would gather his toys, carry them to his bed and lay on them!
True to his word, Tres was responsible. Champ was entirely devoted to Tres and cried if he were left with me. Years passed, Tres had trained Champ with diligence and it showed up. When Tres moved to Wilmington, he could not take Champ. Champ pined, but eventually, loved Christian too. Champ settles for me, if need be, but he loves his boys.
I did not do my fair share of work, that day. I lacked the vitality, the task called for and the lack of sleep, did not help. The weather was beautiful, but there was no way of knowing, how anyone else fared. I knew my family was all fine, but Mama did not have power either.
By mid afternoon, the place was almost tidy. We kept expecting the power to come back on, but it never did. We cleaned up with baby wipes, which was the only option. I do not know how, Abraham Lincoln read by oil lamps and candle light, for I couldn’t make out a thing! Christian played the piano for a long while . . in the dark! The sound, wafted throughout the old farmhouse and I imagined all sorts of things as he played. That was nice.
On Wednesday morning, the territory was covered in a fine mist. I woke early and drank yesterdays’ coffee. Other than, the power rendering the window fan silent and still, there was no sign a hurricane had been through,
When the power came on around mid morning, I rejoiced! The refrigerator came on, the window fan came on and now we had water!! It is the same every time. . .such a celebration ensues, when the power is restored.
I did not grow up with hurricanes . . .I grew up hearing about a particular one, named “Hazel”, from hearing the elders talk about it. Some folks would argue and plead now, that there were hurricanes, in the past, just not labeled as such, but not according to the history of North Carolina. I know that we never went without power, nor were schools closed. The first hurricane I ever experienced was as a young newlywed . . .nearly forty years ago. These days, I expect several a season. I thought of this as I returned everything we had left, to the supply shelf.
Mama finally got power in the afternoon, but I heard many folks were still waiting.
School starts in just a few weeks. Our school will offer remote learning but, those who wish, may attend. It seems now, that I will return to work. With that in mind, I must make the most of the remainder of my time. I plan to spend some more time with the grandchildren, for I can never get enough. Lyla will not be attending kindergarten this year, and thankfully so.
When I am not galavanting down the highways, I will spend my time, listening to the morning song of the cicadas. . . and watching the time when the territory becomes all shades of purple. It seems everything that blooms in August, on the rabbitpatch is some hue of purple, from violet to fuchsia to periwinkle. Clumps of floss flower are claiming every corner they can find and how spectacular it will be in due time. August is a hot month, but it is more than just a stepping stone to September . . .and it is always full of butterflies.