So now the fury of the Great Ice Storm has died down – and we survived. Hopefully, all residents waiting for power have been taken care of and we’ve all restocked our freezers and made plans to buy that generator.
What an incredible thing, to be at the eye of such a storm. When the weather started calling for a “historic” storm of “catastrophic” proportions, I’ll admit I got a little nervous. When the Weather Channel sent a meteorologist to broadcast from our city, I got antsy. What would this storm bring? Would it really even come?
I was focused mostly on having everyone at home, safe and sound and not on the roads. The images from Atlanta’s highway nightmare were still fresh in my mind. We were not going to get stuck in the cold.
How strange to watch this storm unfold, to have front-row seats to such an incredible phenomenon. The snow and rain came and went that day, and it wasn’t until the evening I realized we weren’t done yet.
A few of my siblings lost power right away and were staying with my parents, who live next door to us. We had lucked out, I thought, because our power went out for less than five minutes before coming back on. Close call!
That night, my husband came home from work, the roads not too terrible to maneuver in his truck, and I suggested he park further back in the driveway than normal. There was a large, icy limb hovering over his parking spot. Sure enough, during the night that limb was one of the hundreds in our neighborhood that crashed to the ground.
We woke up to a near-miss with the truck and a freezing cold house. Like almost every other person I know in this city, we lost power. And we spent the day in awe of just how much we rely on power. It’s a silly thing, we all know electricity is important. But you can’t appreciate just how much until it isn’t there to enjoy.
So there we were, me and Paul and our six children, facing at least one day (dear Lord please only one) in a darkened, device-free home. We had to keep moving or we were going to sink fast.
We stayed busy. Our boys went to the nearby golf course for a few hours to enjoy some ice sledding. We loaded up in the van and drove where we could, just to see what was going on. We sat around bundled up with aunts and uncles and grandparents and told stories and carried on. We laughed a lot.
Eventually the sun came out and a few of us took a walk to survey the damage. And the kids played outside. We built a large fire in the backyard and burned as much tree debris that we could.
And somehow, it was a wonderful day.
Of course I don’t want to do it again anytime soon, but if you try to make the best of things in difficult times it sure helps. I loved that my children survived without one single electronic device to occupy their time. We all read and talked and at times just sat and thought. It was a strange and good reset in an age when we are more inclined to be entertained instead of entertain ourselves.
None of us wants to live without modern conveniences; I am grateful for the brilliant minds that have brought us to an age where indoor lighting and plumbing and laundering is the norm. I don’t want to go back to olden times of hardship and woe.
But I do appreciate slowing down, being forced to sit back and realize that catching your breath – being in the moment – is important. The power went out and we all looked up from what we were doing. We looked around and, yes, realized we were cold, but we also enjoyed the people around us and the time we were given to stop and be.