Sunday Morning ~ Prepare
Ukaipa nkhope, dziwa nyimbo. ~ If you get an ugly face, learn how to sing.
~ Chewa proverb
October 31, 2021
How very strange to be sitting by candlelight writing on a laptop with a glowing screen. The power went out an hour ago and it feels more like pen and ink would be appropriate. Maybe when the 62% charge is gone I’ll switch to that. Rain was predicted last night but the forecast wasn’t for gale force winds. It wasn’t even supposed to be as strong as the storm we got last week. Well, some signal was missed somewhere. The wind got me out of bed before daylight, nervous about how much noise it was making. I could hear something solid hitting the house. The rain pounding the windows had me awake for awhile but it was the wind that forced me out of my cozy bed.
The saying goes that in Maine there is six months of winter and six months preparing for winter. I laughed when I heard that because it is sort of true. Even in the summer when the weather is gorgeous, there is always a sense of urgency to soak it up before winter comes. It’s as if charging an inner battery to get through the dark and cold. As soon as the garden starts producing in July there is a sense of needing to preserve some of it for the winter. When the leaves start to turn that ramps up to overdrive. Harvesting, smoking, canning, pickling, drying, storing–––it’s a full time job. Then comes the buttoning up. There’s the potted plants needing attending, composting, or protecting. There are the screens that need to come down, cleaned, and stored. The windows, having been opened for a few months need their innards tended then shut tight. It all takes some tenderness. It’s a good feeling to have this all taken care of and secured. Each year I create a better system and improved storage spots. I’m trying to make it easier on myself, hopefully making this transition sustainable for awhile. But I am starting to understand why older folks decide to sell their homes and move into something smaller.
The wind out there is making me nervous. I usually enjoy storms and soak up their energy. This feels different though. This is not a normal nor’easter. It’s warm for one thing. That alone is a little creepy. And I cannot tell from which way it is coming. That is unsettling. The wind is everywhere and trees are sideways. My tomato plants haven’t died yet it’s been so warm but they are out there getting the shit beaten out of them. I look out the window expecting those trees to snap. I’m grateful to have taken down the trees close to the house right now. I’m not sure I would have stayed out of the basement during this otherwise. Big trees are looking vulnerable out there. I calculate the distance from their tops to the ground. I wonder which ones have taken the power lines with them to their demise. Maybe my anxiety is for the world writ large as this feels ominous. I can’t tell if the sun is up or not.
The house is so quiet. I’m conscious of the stillness inside though it is raging outside. Neither furnace nor refrigerator humming I realize how accustomed I am to their constant song. There’s no NPR meteorologist telling me what time this will pass through. The quiet is a little unsettling. It requires adjustment. I’m thinking of my mother who kept the television on for company. It used to drive me crazy but I can understand it right now.
It’s getting lighter so I blew the candle out. I instantly miss the warm light but I might need it later depending on how severe the damage is. In Malawi, preparing for power outages was part of our routine. They happened almost daily and we’d charge our phones and fill water jugs when we could as a matter of routine. We always had candles on hand, always buying extra when we could find them. Being prepared here should be so much easier but I get complacent. I get caught unprepared even when a storm is predicted. I’m spoiled and expect to have my normal comforts. I have to stop and think about which activities I can do without power as the day is just beginning.
Neighbors are checking in and I’m grateful for this community. I’ve had several “let me know if you need anythings” in the past hour. This storm reminds me of how small and vulnerable we are, and the compassion of others reminds me of how we survive.
Love to all,