A Dark and Windy Night

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It was a dark and windy night.

Not just a line from a Peanuts cartoon. Last night it was a dark and windy night. I pretty much sleep through anything, but last night the wind woke me up several times.  When I woke up for good, about six this morning, it was to the yellow blinking lights of the power company trucks. It seems half of my street lost it’s power last night, and while my side was still bright and warm. even we were flickering.

I heard a knock on my front door. There was one of the neighborhood kids standing there, from several houses down, her pink backpack on and her arms clutching one of the blue cushions from the wicker chairs on my front porch. “I think this is yours.” she said.  I thanked her as she stood waiting for the bus in the lights of the yellow blinking lights.

The drive to my favorite dinner was a mess. I stopped twice to get pieces of trees off the road. I had a detour.  I had to detour off my normal route on River Road. There were power lines still drooping across the tarmac and dipping into the creek. A crew was already there. I could see them cussing in the early morning light. I didn’t blame them one bit.

On Route 30, there were two places where some blessed soul had already been out with their chainsaw cutting up trees that had fallen on the road. Big ones.

When I got to the diner, they were just opening. I got a cup of coffee and sat down for my routine of Bible study, meditation, and writing.  It’s only about 7:30 as I write this, but already people are filtering in, glad for the warmth and light and a place to get food.

There are, it seems, a lot of people around without power still.

The wind was ferocious. Every once and a while the wind up here is so strong that it howls through the quarry like some wild beast. The beast was loud last night. I heard, not just the wind, but people’s things being tossed around. Something hit my house on the side and the house shook. I have no idea what it was. By the time I got up this morning, it had blown away.

Most of my stuff, with the exception of the errant blue cushion, stayed at home. Chairs were overturned, stuff on the porch was rearranged, but all in all, I got off easy.

It was disturbing, but more in a noisy way than a scary way. My house is an old miner’s house. Built around 1800 it is a post and beam house. Simple. Strong. It’s endured a lot. I sure it has endured worse than this.

The cat slept through it all.

At a nearby table is one of the men who cut up the trees across Route 30. He just happened to have a chainsaw in the back of his truck. You gotta love Vermont. If we had to wait for state services to clean things up, we’d have a long wait. It’s a big state and we’re a place of few people, widely dispersed. Low on the list for help.

But people pull together. They plow each other out of snow. They cut down the trees that fall on the road. They just do it. No fanfare. No muss or fuss. They just do what has to be done. By the time the road crews get here, most of the work will be done.

There are lessons in all this. There are lessons in everything. But for today I am simply grateful. I had no idea what to expect when I moved here from Virginia eight and a half years ago. I had no idea that it would become home, no idea how these people and this place would heal me, grow me, change me.

So for today, I will forgo the lessons. I will just enjoy being part of a community. I will enjoy the fact that my house still stands. I will savor a storm survived and life that just goes on. Sometimes we (and I in particular) spend so much time looking for the lessons in life that we forget to be more like the cat, and simply enjoy and be grateful.

Purring, with my cup of coffee,

Tom

 

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