Before and After a Hurricane

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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.
663cadedff2bf635aaef95766472cabc (1)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.

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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.

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33 thoughts on “Before and After a Hurricane

  1. Michele, so glad you made it through Isaias okay! My sister in Wilmington came thru fine, but an area near them was hit hard. I also didn’t get much sleep. A Tornado Warning buzzed my phone (& me) awake @ 4:00AM, whereupon I took shelter in the bathroom. Creeping back to bed 20 mins later, another tornado warning buzzed me into the bathroom again until 5:00AM. Tornado touched down in a neighborhood near us leaving massive devastation to huge trees all over the place, but thanks be to God nobody killed and most houses intact. Like you, we take Hurricane preparation very seriously! When Irene hit in ’99 a huge tree smashed into our house and totaled my car, plus our street was under water for 5 days. The house was fixed (car replaced) – and we always prepare when a storm’s a comin. Blessings & hugs – Virginia

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  2. They must have had better eyes than we do today. Anyone trying to read and learn anything by candle light must be super human. I use an oil lamp when the power goes out but even it is just not enough for me to do much reading. A. while back I did purchase a batter powered fan. It is small but sure does help when that is all there is. Don’t know yet how long the batteries last but time will tell. It does take 8 AA which is pretty pricey so may not have been smart.I have turned into such a wimp depending on a cool room to sleep in.
    Hang on. They say the season isn’t over by along shot and I really hate these storms that come in at night. Of course with all the trees around here I wouldn’t be able to see something coming any way. It’s just a mind set. I do cook on gas so that is one good thing.
    My grands started school today…half day today and tomorrow. There are five of son#3 kido’s at the academy now and Gabriel (5th grade) is going out for football..Lord please keep him safe..He is fast but still on the small side of growth.Maybe he will be a kicker…that is somewhat safer.
    Love you and so thankful you and yours are ok from this storm.

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    1. I think the fan is a good thing-maybe you will not need it, but goodness, when you do=what a blessing. I can sleep cold-but not in heat. Blessings on your family! And I think the kicker is a safe move too!! love Michele

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  3. I’m so glad you came through the storm unscathed. Reading about it was easier than your living through it. Our relatives were lightly touched by the hurricane near Charleston. Those in MD were hit harder. Daughter in NJ left work when the power went out, and she dodged fallen trees on the way home. Those on Long Island were without electricity, and the ones in MA had a tornado alert that rang everyone’s phone. Thankfully, we had nothing special to report.

    I’m glad to know you’ll be working. Things are iffy everywhere.

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    1. Hi! I am back, still catching up. I still know little about the damage elsewhere, for we had no power! I am not sure how I feel about going back to work. Things are quite active here now. My mom lost a friend. My friend lost her husband-the mayor died-all in a week!! Sweet Anne, you stay safe-and thank you!! xo Michele

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  4. You made it through the hurricane without much damage – am so happy for you. It seems as if the world is turned upside down right now – with one problem after another disrupting people’s lives. So glad you got your power back and hope all those on the East coast get power soon. Have watched the news and seen all the damage along our Eastern coast. Love and prayers are sent your way. Stay safe and well my friend.

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  5. I’m so glad you survived the hurricane. By the time it reached us in New England it was a tropical storm, yet it definitely caused some damage, including flooding and downed trees. We were without cable and had to clean up the yard, but nothing else. Best to you, Michele. I’m glad you still have your music teaching job.

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  6. I’m glad you were spared any serious damage from the hurricane, but so sorry to hear that Champ is not doing well. Your son was so brave and good to rescue that poor little put and give him the home he deserved. I’m also glad your job seems to be secure for now….Even when times seem so very tough, we get good news that keeps us going. And you deserve every single bit of good luck that comes your way!

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  7. Thankful you came thru the hurricane okay! I can’t imagine being in one, such widespread damage. My son, a lineman, has worked numerous hurricanes, he lives in Missouri and they go where needed. They station on the outer area of the storm, and as soon as it passes they start working. The usual shift is for 2 weeks then another crew will come in. He said it’s amazing how people who are dealing with such destruction, will offer them anything they have, cookies, pies, water. He’s proud (and so am I) to be a lineman, especially when he can get power on for those in need.
    Bless Champ. There is nothing better than a fur companion. He’s a luck guy to have been given to you son. And a wonderful mama who welcomed him too!
    Blessings as you start the school year.

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  8. How lucky you are to have clumps of floss flower growing so profusely! I remember mom picking some up at the garden center back home as a kid. It may have gotten planted in planters and beds, but no chance of it ever naturalizing. How wonderful, too, to have one of your boys serenading you with piano in the wake of the storm. I know how much I love hearing Dominic strum the guitar “for no particular reason” … so I can imaging that the piano would be wonderful too.

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  9. Wow! What a tale of adventure on the Rabbit Patch!
    My thoughts for Champ, and for Tres.
    There is a very special relationship between a boy and his dog, this I attest to personally.
    This time will likely be harder for Tres than for Champ.
    Sending peace for both.

    Under “great minds think alike”, wasn’t I astonished to read your description of August coming in purple. I had just finished notes for a post on that thought, “Royal August”. The hen scratching on the note pad says:

    Royal August, colored purple
    crowning achievement of summer
    milkweed and color of Monarchs
    Purple loosestrife, chicory, aster
    clover wild thyme
    “enrobed in purple”

    All my best,
    Paz

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    1. Scott, my dear one-I am so behind! How pleasant when I see you name. I am convinced there is something unique about our friendship-something rare-something nice. May your August be a grand affair. We are nearer to autumn than we were!!! You are right about a boy and his dog. x Michele

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  10. For some reason I missed this one! Glad to read the storm wasn’t too bad. Also interesting that hurricanes were not much of a problem when you were young. Those of us who have lived in the same place for many, many years have seen the changes brought about by global warming. In Maine, few people needed AC. Now it is common. There were no cardinals or red bellied woodpeckers. Or Japanese beetles. Or ticks. Fall came crisply in September. Now it’s October. Anyway, you get the point I’m sure. Finally, so very sorry about Champ. How sad it is to lose a dog buddy.

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  11. I am so pleased you are Ok.
    When you have to return to work be absolutely scrupulous about cleaning every surface. Covid is raging my part of Europe and older teachers are still being made to face huge classes of kids every day. Stay well. I am praying for distance learning here xx

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    1. thank you dear one. I am working outside, thankfully and do not enter buildings. Here the weater is fine now, when winter comes . . .? It is a big mess and my heart is fearful for teachers everywhere. . School should not have started. We should have waited. Take care please and I will too. love Michele

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