The Hurricane’s Gift, Or Best Laid Plans


It was certainly not the day that I had expected.  And it was not the day that I had planned.  But the day that I was given, delivered by a rainy and gusty hurricane, turned out to be the perfect day after all.

Very early this morning I was awakened by the power going off.  Not really a sound, but a sudden lack of sound.  All the humming of the household appliances, electronics and gadgets suddenly stopping.  Since it was barely light, I went back to sleep.  Later when I got up and dressed, I was wondering what would happen to the day that I had been looking forward to so much.  The torrents of rain, which had been falling all night, seemed to be letting up.  But the wind was ferocious at times, whipping at the branches in the oak trees outside my window.

A phone call confirmed that the plans that I had made with friends were cancelled because of the power outage.  And as fiercely as the wind was blowing, there was no telling when it would be operational again.  As it turned out, not until early evening.

There was a strange feeling that ensued.  All the morning routines seem to involve electricity somehow.  Coffee?  I can’t imagine starting my day without it, but there was no way to brew it.  I almost always turn on the radio to NPR first thing in the morning, but that was out.  No way to check TV news for word on the hurricane or the damage it had left in its wake.  Our power grid was part of the damage.

I have to confess that getting coffee was a priority.  Perhaps a nearby Starbucks had electricity, and I was willing to take a car ride to find out.  Cars and trucks were driving by, so I knew that conditions on the streets were at least safe enough to be passable.  And sure enough, my “Jonesing” after a cup of Joe was soon enough taken care of.  One caffeine fix later, the day stretched out before me.

The wind was blowing, and the oppressive humidity before the hurricane was gone.  I sat in the silence of the house, listening to the branches and leaves moving in the wind.  The curtains fluttered and the cool air was soothing.

My journal is a frequent companion to my early hours, but I had not written in it for a full week.  Unusual, but understandable since I had had a week of one demand after another.  A full work schedule, a family crisis, plus two houseguests, accompanied by Mudslide, the greyhound, had filled it up.  I was busy, stressed and preoccupied with the events of the week.  My houseguests went on their way.  And now that I had nowhere to go and nothing to do but be with myself,  I realized that I was extremely tired.

And so, after listening to the silence, I began to listen to myself and to write.  As the day went on, and thoughts and questions continued to occur to me, I came back to write.  I held the cat and watched the wind blow the trees around.  I decided to read a couple of magazines that I subscribe to but often don’t get around to reading.  Found an interesting article on intuition, which I have been thinking about lately.

And then I took a nap.  I can’t remember when I last did that.  For some reason I seem to have lost the ability to nap during the day.  I used to nap routinely when my children were at home, especially when they were small,  but not in recent years.  The phone rang, but I let it go to voicemail, and went back to sleep.

After getting up and writing some more and reading more of the magazine, I heard that small “thud” that signals the return of power.  For awhile I was reluctant to turn anything on, but finally the light at my desk because the daylight was fading.  I walked around the house, noticing the flashing digital clocks and the hum of the refrigerator.  And then after awhile I turned the computer on in order to write this post.  But I have decided not to check my email, or Facebook or Twitter.  I don’t feel the need to call anyone.  The radio and television are still quiet, and I think I’m going to leave them that way until tomorrow.

There is something about the silence that is deeply restful.  And something about living without the distraction of electronic screens that renders a sense of peace.  Being disconnected from the world is a good thing, at least in small doses.  I wonder what an extended vacation from electronics might offer.

I do know this:  sometimes when the plans that we make are scuttled, and Mother Nature has shown her power (and her complete indifference to those plans) it is a good thing.  The Quakers may say that this day was an example of Divine Order.   I believe that it is.