When the Wind Blows

Published August 27, 2012 by Diana

By NOAA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As Hurricane Isaac threatens the Gulf, I am reminded of the devastating effects of nature.  There’s something feral about hurricane winds.  Your animal side responds to its howl.  Can you outwit nature? Subdue it? Do you really have dominion?

“Mom, can we stay with you tonight?” It was Rachel.  She, her husband, and their infant son lived in a mobile home surrounded by trees. “We’re supposed to evacuate on account of the hurricane.  Mike’s on his way home from work, now.  I’m scared, Mom. ”

“You have time.  But please, honey, come as soon as you can.  We’re getting ready for it.   Bring everything you’ll need for the next several days just in case….” I said.

That night after the wind knocked out the power, we listened to news on a battery operated radio.  My daughters, all of them, huddled in the living room and clung to every word of the emergency broadcast…A loud crash broke the concentration.

Armed with flashlights and rope, my husband and son-in-law left the house to investigate.  The girls held hands and prayed.  As I watched the men though the window, their flashlights illuminated blurs of their movement – the struggle to tie rope to the posts and tether themselves, their blown faces like distorted images in a fun house, the rain slamming them sideways.

When they returned, the girls threw questions at them.  What happened? Did you see the barn? Are the horses okay? What was that noise?

“The sycamore, the one by the driveway, toppled over,” Mike reported.

“It’s okay,” my husband said, “it didn’t hit the propane tank.”

At this point, most of us were exhausted.  We were tired of listening to the wind, the tinny radio voices, and the pelting rain.  I blew out the candles and brought out blankets and pillows.  We dosed.

In the light of dawn, the brightest light I had ever seen, we stumbled awake and gathered outside. I heard a scream.

In the blink of an eye, our yard had become a strange landscape.  Toppled trees and branches obscured the view of the street, the barn, and the pond.  A large oak lay across the front field.  The top of  an old cedar had hurled like a spear into Marie’s ragtop.  She was still screaming.  She loved that car.

We comforted each other and checked on our neighbors.   All the people on our street were without electricity too, but no one was hurt.  For the next several days, I would bond with my neighbors in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise.  We held grilling parties to share thawing food, passed around generators for our well pumps, and took turns with chain saws to clear the road of fallen trees.  A friend fixed Marie’s car.

Within a few weeks, our lives returned to normal, but we would never be the same.  We learned about the power of people and the power of nature.  United in humanity, we do have dominion.

10 comments on “When the Wind Blows

  • There is only so much any one person can control. It’s usually best to allow those of higher power control the larger issues while we stick to what actually lie within our bounds.

    Glad to hear that everyone was all right. Sounds like it’s about time to get to redecorating the yard with new life.

  • We don’t get really big storms here, certainly nothing like this. When we do have big winds, trees falling and so on, it’s great to be inside, just listening. We don’t have to worry about going away from it or packing stuff up.
    And we know it won’t last too.
    Sounds very scary.

    • You were probably too young to remember that one. 🙂
      Sooner or later everyone experiences a terrifying force of nature, an event written about in history books, family diaries, and blogs.

  • Our second Christmas in England a huge storm blew through and we were without power for the day. That was probably some of the worst winds I’ve known, trees fallen, quite a mess left behind. But no lives were lost, thankfully. Weather is precarious, and we are at its mercy. Hopefully Isaac won’t leave too much devastation.

  • Hi,
    This is such a vivid description of events, enjoyed reading it. Before I moved to Wellington, I lived in Christchurch, city hit by devastating earthquakes. When threatened by the power of nature, people form communities of support and stick together. It is the return to the basic and powerful humanity.

    • I’ve never experienced an earthquake. I imagine it’s very frightening. I agree that when people come together in support during such disasters, there’s beauty in the rubble.

    • Scary, huh? You never forget. Twenty-two people lost their lives in our state due to this event. Nothing like the devastation from Katrina, though. Stay safe, and thanks for stopping by.

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