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Irene’s Grace

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 justnot 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.

She's literally "singing in the rain"!

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……

The path of Hurricane Lee

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

  1. Veronica
    September 4, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Nope! I arrived in the Dominican Republic as Irene was leaving, and arrived back in NY the day after it hit. My timing was perfect and my flights were eerily not affected, as I witnessed several horror stories from fellow travelers. One couple at my resort had to book a flight to Orlando on another airline, then drive to NY after being delayed a few days paying extra to stay longer. Many people had to stay an extra week on their vacation because flights were booked until Sept 5th, most of these people being families. I watched a grown man throw the Jet Blue attendants keyboard in the check-in area of Punta Cana airport to the floor, after realizing his fight was canceled yet again, as his wife and kids were crying because airport security was escorting him out!

    The Saturday that everyone was preparing for the worst, many flights were canceled and airports were shut down for Sunday. I can’t say I fully wasn’t affected because Irene did ruin one night on my vacation (but I’d rather that, some people died). I got all dressed up for dinner only to sit in the lobby on hold with Expedia from 7pm to 10 30pm when they hung up on me! I then called the airline directly and in a half an hour they rescheduled my Monday flight from 1pm to 2pm. There was a woman the night before who sat on hold from 9pm to 2am to be hung up on as well. Needless to say, I wrote a nasty letter to Expedia (I would never recommend booking through them)! The next day, it was beautiful, and I watched couples in the lobby going through the exact same thing I went through the previous night, only not to get so lucky a I did.


    • September 4, 2011 at 10:12 am

      You’re a lucky duck and a smart cookie, Cookie!


  2. breida
    September 4, 2011 at 9:09 am

    STILL no power here – but the only damage we sustained was to the food in the fridge and freezers. . . not so much when you look at what happened to so many others. . .


    • September 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Wow, Brieda still no electricity! We are sooo lucky we didn’t lose it. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  3. Kasey
    September 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for this post. It is more news-worthy of Irene than anything I would’ve watched on TV. And, what I completely agree with and say to myself all of the time: someone somewhere out there always has it worse. Regardless, I hope the damage to your home gets repaired quickly and with little hassle. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Karen! Thanks for sharing.


  4. September 5, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Thank you, Kasey!!


  5. September 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Glad your daughter was able to enjoy it at least. I’m from the Midwest, so I’m not anywhere near Irene. The worst weather we’ve had this year was a bad storm with strong winds and a tornado that barely skipped over us in May. That’s unusual for us. Hope you can get your house back to normal soon and that you don’t have to deal with any more floods.


  6. September 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks for the comment and for stopping by “My Camera, My Friend”!


  7. September 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Brutal! I am definitely not envious. I hope everything is okay now? Your daughter is so awesome and that pose is fantastic! 🙂


    • September 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Yes, Bean, it was brutal but for the most part…it’s over and YES my daughter is AWESOME and, thanks!!


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