Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reflections on the Storm

We are still without power, and our generator died on Thursday morning. Miraculously, my husband got on the phone at 8 am, found a place a few hours north of us that just received a delivery of 90 generators, paid for it on the phone and drove as fast as he could to pick it up. By the time he got there, they had sold all of them – Fortunately, ours was waiting with a “will call” tag, and although they say it may be Tuesday before we get our power back, we are fine.

The devastation and misery in New Jersey, Staten Island, New York and parts of Connecticut is so overwhelming. Our hearts go out to everyone who lost their homes and loved ones. We have only some small inconvenience compared to people who lost everything. Friends of ours down the road had a tree fall on their house and split it in half. Seeing their two-story house crushed made me sick in my stomach. In the heart of the storm, they had been standing in their kitchen and heard a loud cracking noise. They ran out into the blackness and the 90 mph wind just as the tree fell, severing their bed upstairs literally in half and dumping the entire contents of their house onto their driveway in the pouring rain and relentless wind. They said that they both felt an angel guiding them to their neighbor’s house to safety.

 I realized that at the same moment, I had been standing in my kitchen, cooking chili on the stove when the windows began shaking and it felt like the wind was going to blow them in on me. I ran into our living room and asked my husband if we should go to the basement. Then, we were plunged into blackness. At that point, I was so focused on turning on flashlights and making sure that my daughter and the dog and cat were safely downstairs that I really didn’t feel any fear. Three days later, as I stood in front of the beautiful old farmhouse with the huge pine tree squashing it like it was cardboard, the reality of all of this hit me. I can’t stop thinking about it, and how lucky we are.

My husband and I have been through three earthquakes, two hurricanes and countless paralyzing snowstorms. There is no one in the world that I would rather have at my side in a disaster than Mark. I am so blessed to have a partner that is calm, resourceful and able to push me forward if I hesitate or falter.  I hope that we are teaching our daughter how to find her strength when faced with these kind of life and death situations. You’d like to shelter your kids from them, but face it, no matter where you are in the world, things happen. No place is impervious. Last night, as it got dark, our friends and neighbors suddenly began to show up with food and knock on our door. We had a great impromptu dinner, and everyone felt the power of good community spirit as we joined together. I took the dog out at one point and tears came to my eyes as I looked back at where I live. Our house glowed with the light from the generator like a beacon in the black night.

My friend helped us move the horses back home yesterday. Silk got off the trailer and rolled and rolled in the pasture. She was so happy this morning when I fed her breakfast in our own barn.  There is much good that came from moving the horses. Most important, they were safe in the hurricane. I made a new friend with a great horse trailer. The girls were very comfortable in the barn up the road, and the unfriendly mare who attacked them last time actually welcomed them in the pasture. Last year after the hurricane, Siete had been traumatized by the trailer ride back – our neighbor drove too fast, and my little horse was soaked with sweat when we unloaded her. This time, she got over her fear and loaded easily like she always has when we were ready to come home. 

So this whole storm experience reminds me that fear is like a river that just has to be crossed. It is, after all, an emotion that can be replaced by other emotions that will serve me better. I will always feel it throughout points in the rest of my life, pay attention and respect its warnings, but it will never guide how I live.


Annette said...

Great post Victoria. Your analogy of the house squished like a cardboard box is perfect. I can see it. I'm so glad you and the horses are okay -- and that you got a generator -- and that it works (ours doesn't).

Lori Skoog said... sorry you are still without power. Yes, compared to so many others, we are very lucky. I can't imagine losing everything. Glad that Mark was home and everything worked out with the horses.

I can just see your house lit up in the dark of night.

detroit dog said...

I'm glad to know that the girls and your family were relatively unscathed from the storm. I am so sorry for your neighbors, but glad the angels moved them outside before the tree came down on them.

Victoria Cummings said...


Grey Horse Matters said...

So happy for you to have your power back. The girls must be so glad to be home in their own backyard too.

It's so nice to have caring neighbors and friends who all come together in times of crisis. Sorry to hear about your neighbors house but at least no one was hurt.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

What a lovely post Victoria!

Thanks for the timely reminder. It does seem that the only real antidote to fear and despair is gratitude.

Glad the horses are well and that power has been restored. :D

billie said...

Yay re: power!

And what a beautiful post - thank you for taking the time to write it down and for sharing it here. Such wisdom. And grace. xo

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks to all of you - This was a difficult, frightening week, but we got through it safely. Hard to believe that just last Sunday, I was sitting here, full of anxiety in anticipation of Sandy's arrival. And now, we are cozy and calm in our home again - how grateful I am for what I have, for my family and my friends. It's really cold here tonight, and I am feeling so bad for those people who have lost everything. I wish there was a way that I could bring them here and keep them warm.

Oak in the Seed said...

Glad to see you have power back! My neighbors are ticking their lights on bit by bit but there is still much to be done. My friend has finally decided (after much coaxing) that she has had enough of the cold and moved in with us until it all gets straightened out.
Great comment about fear...I also learned fear steps in whenever I resist change, including staying alive.

Strawberry Lane said...

Wonderful post, Victoria. You certainly described what the real values are even in the worst circumstances. What a great time you must have had with your friends ... all of you sharing the same experiences. SO glad the horses are home safe and sound.

We are now starting the "fire warning season". I'm sure you remember those times. We have our emergency horse crews ready, just in case.

Thanks for your words of wisdom and pointing out all the good things that can come from a frightening ordeal.

C-ingspots said...

What wonderful new insight and such positive reflection you have after the trauma of the storm. I'm so very happy that you are all safe and can see your blessings throughout this experience. Like my grandma used to tell us as children, "what doesn't kill you, does make you stronger". It really is true, isn't it? I relate very much to your comment about looking back at your home with tearful eyes realizing that you are blessed.