29 August, 2011

Goodnight, Irene


The rain started late Saturday morning. Much rushing around, picking vegetables from the garden, bringing in plants and wind chimes, tying down furniture. Air conditioners out, screens up, storm windows down. Filtered water poured into jugs and refrigerated. Tap water filling buckets, ready and waiting.
Night comes on quickly. Blankets and pillows are gathered and spread on the floor as make-shift beds. The rain is falling harder, and the wind is picking up. On the tv, warnings and watches. Tornadoes have begun touching down. "Can we turn it off? Put on something black and white and quick-dialogued?" One last trip upstairs for a book to read. A loud zap. Two blinding blue lights out the back window. And darkness. This is only the beginning.
A candle-lit game of rummy. A can of wine. Watch the storm from the front porch. "They'll sound alarms if there's a tornado, right?" "I would think." "Good. I'll sleep better believing that." Decide to do just that before things get bad. Note the quiet: no cars, no trains, no airplanes flying overhead. Realize that the crickets are chirping louder than the wind is howling. Fall easily into a light sleep. Wake an hour later because it is so hot. The sky is oddly bright. Made brighter by successive flashes. Not lightning. But what? Power lines sparking, perhaps.
Sleep restlessly until five. Get up, go to the bathroom. Check the basement- there's water, but not too much. Deep in spots, but not wide-spread. Manageable. Discuss coffee, but decide to try to sleep a bit more. "Please, with the light! I'm trying to sleep." Surprise and euphoria at the restoration of power. Mayoral press conferences hinted at the possibility of this being delayed for weeks. Back up again to turn off what was forgotten last night. Open the doors for fresh air. The end is near. Fall, blissfully, into a sound sleep.
Wake for good a couple hours later. The wind has changed direction. Rain is falling hard, but it's moving away, onward and upward towards the north. The house is still standing, the yard is still there. We have been spared. Within hours, the sky has cleared to a brilliant blue. The sun is shining. And the wind is blowing as hard as you have ever felt it. Let it blow.

Hoping you have all fared well, and wishing you a week of clearing skies and peace.


emilylovesbagpuss said...

My thoughts are with you and I am glad you made it out safe and sound.x

Luna said...

I was thinking of you Heather.It looks like it was worse than expected hey? Hope you are all safe now!

Sarah Rooftops said...

So glad you got through it safely - it sounds terrifying.

Heather said...

Thanks for the concern, guys! We are very very lucky, this storm could have been so much worse. I think we'll all take a sleepless night and some basement bailing over the alternative any day ;)