Last Saturday morning, my daughter and I left our peaceful retreat in the woods, hoping to get home before Irene got there. We made it, just in time to clear off the pool deck and secure all fly-able objects before the first onslaught of heavy rains pelted our area. Other than a few severe but sporadic downpours that afternoon however, Saturday turned out to be more like the calm before the storm. Things started out slow enough but strange for us in the Hudson Valley. Early in the evening, I noticed a few displaced turkeys.
If nothing else, their presence on the median in our otherwise “turkey-free” neighborhood was a sign that something was just–not– right.
It wasn’t until around 6am on Sunday that Irene picked up the pace, becoming faster and more furious, showing her relentless nature. Hour after hour throughout the day, she presented us with a deluge of rain leaving the better part of my front lawn under water by late afternoon.
A happy “singing in the rain” moment for my daughter perhaps but a menacing sight for her mom.
In her fiercest moments, two sump pumps, a powerful wet-vac and ultimately even a bucket brigade couldn’t keep her at bay. She streamed right into our basement through the glass doors that lead out to the back yard. There was NO stopping her. In the 24-hours or so that she hovered over our area, I back-washed at least 9-inches of water out of our pool, into an already over-flowing street drain.
Under dryer conditions, you can easily see the three steps that lead from the basement to the pool area.
Late in the day, the fire department closed off our street. They pumped water out of homes while we watched a variety of small objects float passed our house down the stream that is normally our road. By nightfall, she was gone.
Irene was “beast” as my kids would say, doling out her special blend of mayhem in the most sporadic of places. Perhaps she was a disappointment to some, not packing the punch that was anticipated by so many who took great measures to prepare for her arrival. But to me, her arbitrary selection of where to leave harsh destruction reinforced the fragility of life and the urgency to live it to it’s fullest without taking it for granted. She left just enough damage in my basement and neighborhood to earn my deepest respect. In the days following, as I watched report after report on the damage and heartache that was left elsewhere in her wake, she reminded me in no uncertain terms, that no matter how difficult things may seem, there is always someone out there who has it worse.
There are no limits to the power of nature.
So, I’m going to wade in gratitude for a while knowing that, there but for the grace of Irene……
Tell me, were you affected by Hurricane Irene?
Keep your eye on Lee, Louisiana!
Photo Credits #1-5: Karen Szczuka Teich and http://www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com
Photo Credit #6: International Business Times Hurricane Lee