The Calm After The Storm

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Well, friends, I just got my power back (electricity, not super powers…), and one of the first things I wanted to do was reach out to everyone and see how you’re all doing.

Why? Because while there’s nothing lighthearted about a severe hurricane causing people to lose their homes and often their lives, there is something pretty incredible about how everyone comes together in a time of need. You remember those who you care about most and are constantly in touch throughout the uncertain events. You reach out to an old friend to be sure they are secure and unharmed. You take a moment to reflect on what’s most important to you in the event you have to grab your belongings to evacuate. You think about what you’re most grateful for, and how trivial complaints about the DVR not recording your shows are nothing in comparison to what others may have to face during the storm. Most of all, you test your strength; physically, mentally and emotionally as you protect yourself and help calm others.

Naturally, I felt a sense of fear as we anticipated the wrath Sandy could bring. A rush of adrenaline came over me like a surge of lightning running through my veins. My heart palpitated like the thunder on its way as Hubby and I moved our outdoor furniture indoors Sunday night. We stocked up on bottled water, secured our windows and prepared our flashlights with high volt batteries.

Through the howling wind and dark skies, I could hear my thoughts wondering if my favorite cherry blossom in front of our house would fall into our home during the night. Would our dog get swept away when we let him outside or would our cars be under water in the garage? However, amidst all that, there was an unspoken comfort from the calm and quiet inside when the power went out. We had to save our cell phones for emergency use only and prioritize our every move. There was a sense of adventure and teamwork proving once again to that together, Hubby and I can get through anything.

Suddenly, I felt oddly serene. We surrounded our bedroom with a sea of flickering candles, cracked open a bottle of wine and played board games. We lit our gas stove and slow cooked chili and soup for a late evening meal. We talked. We laughed. We ate some more. The room was dark, but we felt light.

This morning when we awoke to face the damage, we were overcome with a sense of relief. A few branches down, but the cherry blossom stayed strong in its roots. Pieces of the roof fell off, but there was still one over our heads. Panels of our fence broke in two, but it still kept our dog safe in our backyard. We were okay.

Still without power, I made us cheesy eggs on the stove as we charged our cell phones in the car. We walked outside bright and early to find all our neighbors assessing the scene. The sun peered through the clouds as if to apologize for the commotion we had been subjected to. Hubby helped lift a fallen tree across the street, I raked leaves, we all shared stories. The roads were flooded with comradery and support. Humanity at its finest.

This afternoon, still without electricity, our good friends from around the corner came over for lunch. We dug into the pumpkin chocolate chip cheesecake, buttery layer cake and chafing dish full of chicken alfredo remaining from this weekend’s party. We ate. We talked. We laughed. We ate some more. Food really does bring people together. It gives you a sense of normalcy and a reminder that even in the most difficult times, we must fuel our bodies and minds to be able to face what’s to come.

Before we knew it, the power came back on. It felt miraculous. We were without it for less than 24 hours, and still, I had a new sense of appreciation for something I take for granted on a daily basis. I vacuumed. Ran the dishwasher. Threw in a load of laundry. Mundane no more, I was grateful for chores. How lucky to be able to do them.

Hubby and I were supposed to fly on vacation to New Orleans this week. While it’s not much of a surprise, our flight was cancelled. Disappointed, I had to look at the bigger picture. How thankful we must be if that’s the worst inconvenience we’re dealing with right now. So many people’s dreams were literally swept away last night. Dreams beyond the dinner reservations, culinary walking tour, daytime boat cruise and authentic cooking class we had on our agenda. When we initially made the plans, we were hoping to put aside reality and get away from ‘life’. Today, we’re just happy to be living it.

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