Barry returned from his annual fishing trip to Isle Royale a couple of hours ago.
I’ve spent five days alone here in the North Woods. You know, in retreat mode. Meditating, weeding the garden, sitting, washing dishes, communing with nature, witnessing thoughts, just Being.
Except for working my two part-time jobs. Except for a haircut and dentist appointment in town. Except for volunteering at our annual Aura Jamboree selling tickets and later talking with good friends. Except for that almost-tornado (high winds of 65-70 mph) on Thursday evening.
From my perspective, it all started with an impulsive desire for an ice cream cone. You know, how you’re sitting at home in retreat-mode when suddenly you think you’ll die if you don’t eat an ice cream, now.
Not tomorrow. Not Friday. NOW.
You bargain with yourself. “Don’t be silly, you don’t really want an ice cream cone. Here’s a delightful peach instead.” Your desire’s having none of this silly talk. It thinks that without an ice cream it will keel over and die.
Because you’ve ignored sixteen other desires during your sojourn alone, you decide to drive to town for that ice cream. Forget contributing to global warming.
OK, now you’ve narrowed your desire to a Snicker’s cone, the kind drizzled with caramel and topped with chocolate and nuts. The kind where the last bite consists of chocolate hidden at the bottom of the cone. The kind where you lick your lips and think you’ve gone to heaven, well, for at least ten minutes afterward until your mind thinks it wants something else.
Unfortunately, it’s starting to look wild & crazy outside. The National Weather Service has issued warnings. The 90 degree temps are meeting a weather system and a storm approaches. I bargain with the Universe: Get me to town safely in time for that ice cream and you’ll be rewarded with…well, something.
The Universe raises its eyebrows and continues to spit rain on the windshield as you leave your retreat and drive toward that insistent desire twelve miles away.
You decide you’re probably going to die chasing the eternal ice cream cone, shame on you, but you keep driving and the wind keeps rising and then…hey, wait a minute, now it’s sunny. Oh, good. Phew. Catastrophe averted.
You wonder briefly how your husband is faring as the storm hits Isle Royale, but then you remember the Snickers cone and hail onward. The sun disappears; the rain pounds. The sun comes out. OK, you’re almost to town. Should you stop at the nearby shop or drive to the gas station where you know they have Snickers cones?
You drive up Broad Street. You run into the Holiday Gas Station. You sprint through the store. You open the cooler…and…darn you, Universe!…there are NO Snickers ice cream cones. Figures. OK, you grab one of those imitation nut-sprinkled cones and toss a couple of dollars on the counter and gun up your engine, attempting to make it home before the REAL storm hits.
You tear off the paper around the cone and discover…OK, Universe, what a joke!….your ice cream cone has broken in two. You drive quickly toward home, quickly digesting the object of your desire, mmmm, good, OK, please don’t drip all over the car…
Your son calls when you get home. You do not tell him what his mama has been doing. Some things are better kept secret, for the time being, don’t you agree? (OK, maybe I told him. No recall of actual details.)
Suddenly the electricity goes out. No more phone call with son. It remains out for hours.
The next morning on Facebook you hear the news. Broad Street–where you sailed blithely in search of the Eternal Ice Cream cone–was struck by high winds. A tree crashed into Becky’s house. Trees were uprooted everywhere. The brick Sacred Heart School sign collapsed.
On the way to the dentist on Friday I survey the damage.
In another home, my usual dental assistant took pictures outside her house on Thursday night. She decided the storm looked a little dangerous and stepped inside. BAM! A tree fell through her place, ten feet from where she surveyed photos on her camera. She grabbed her camera and purse and dove outside. Just in time. The tree hit her stove and her home ignited…
Luckily, no one in our small community sustained injuries or death.
Thank the Universe so much.
Thank goodness Becky and Kiki are safe.
Thank goodness those who compulsively drove for ice cream cones weren’t struck by falling trees.
Thank you, reader, for listening to this report of my five calm quiet retreat days here in the calm woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.