Sunday, July 1, 2012
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Yep that is exactly how I was feeling this weekend. There was a bad storm that rolled through the Midwest on Friday. We had straight line winds that blew through, toppling trees, tearing off shingles, shredding siding and knocking out power for approximately 40,000 people locally.
We were affected by losing our electric for 22 hours. While we had no damage to our house, there was debris everywhere. The worst part was no power in 104°F heat. We lost ALL of our refrigerated and frozen items. By the time we cleaned out both refrigerators and freezers it was the equivalent to a 72 gallon trash can full. All the breads I had baked, vegetables I had put up from my garden and all the meat...gone. It made me so sad to see all that food in the trash-- KNOWING people go hungry everyday. Because I didn't take the necessary preparedness precautions it was all a waste.
That chest freezer I could have bought. That generator I should have bought. BUT DIDN'T! Woulda, coulda, shoulda
I am EXTREMELY grateful that no one was injured. That our home wasn't damaged. And to have the return of my creature comforts.
As uncomfortable as the entire experience has been it has taught us some invaluable lessons, that as much as we thought we would be okay during an emergency--we are woefully unprepared. We ARE getting generator. And next will be the chest freezer. I am also organizing our emergency supplies. I am re-visiting my original post on emergency preparedness and following my own advice.
Friday night was exceptionally quiet. All the usual hum, buzz and clatter of a modern life surrounding us was eliminated. What remained was clear sky full of stars visible because there were no distracting lights to obscure the view. I was able to hear nature's orchestra-- cicadas, crickets and frogs occasionally punctuated by the rustle of the wind through the trees. The air was cool after a 30°F temperature drop and perfumed with the smell of rain. I was able to sit on my porch and think about how lucky we
were are despite what amounts to nothing more than an inconvenience.
Saturday morning dawned hot, humid and hazy punctuated by the sounds of chainsaws and generators.
The scenes that follow were common place all over town
All images courtesy of The Western Star
The good that comes from this type of event is seeing a community come together and work towards a common goal. I was out and about on Saturday to buy ice for coolers, checking what business's were open and unsuccessfully trying to buy or rent a generator. (And to blissfully revel in my air conditioned car!)
What I noticed during my scouting expedition, instead of everyone avoiding eye contact and scurrying through their day, people were communicating. Talking, sharing stories and offering advice. We are so self absorbed (most if us anyway) that we don't take time to enjoy the sights, sounds and people who surround us. I actually had the opportunity to talk with my neighbors. Real conversations. Instead of the waving as you back out of the driveway. I was able to witness random acts of kindness as people helped neighbors move debris, load supplies and offer directions to complete strangers on where to find equipment. It reminded me of days gone by when the world was much simpler and dare I say more kind? Despite it all, this experience was actually a welcome opportunity for a little self reflection--even if I didn't recognize it in the moment as a gift.