Storms sweep around, between and through us all the time.
Nature sometimes delivers with a vengeance, doesn’t she?
Viruses, bacteria, parasites, cancer, heart attacks, tornados, fires, hurricanes.
Storms sweep through our lives, often arriving unexpectedly, tearing up trees, homes, emotions.
We may not like storms, but Mother Nature delivers anyway.
After the storm we look around at what’s fallen, take stock, and move forward into the next tomorrow. We learn as we go, don’t we? How to clean up debris, how to continue living, how to move on with our hearts bruised but intact.
Today I want to share about a storm that gathered force and dumped 18 inches of snow upon us the day before this past Thanksgiving. Just in case we had forgotten to be thankful for electricity and heat and mobility, Mama Nature whipped through the Upper Peninsula deciding to coat our power lines and poles and trees with so much ice that everything bowed under the weight of her Thanksgiving “decorations”.
Most of us lost power. Barry and I lost power for 29 hours, but many neighbors suffered up to five days before the good electrical crew cleared away remnants of the storm.
We have a generator, thank all the stars, and a wood stove (a new untried untested wood stove at the time–but that is another story) so we could appreciate intermittent lights and warmth. Others weren’t so lucky.
People made do. They sheltered with others. They hunkered down. They shivered. They couldn’t cook turkeys. They eventually threw out everything in their freezer and refrigerator. They ate canned tuna. Heck, I don’t know what they did, but they made it through the storm.
We pulled together under the force of the storm’s trail and made it through.
Afterwards we noted the many trees that toppled. That leaned. That heaved under the ice. I waded out through the snow and shook some of the branches, please, please, come off you ice. It felt useless. But it wasn’t useless to the one or two or six trees that cleared enough so the stuck branches lifted inches out of the snow.
It looked like all the trees were bowing to the earth, branches stuck in concrete snow.
It looked heart-breaking, and it was.
Snow melted; spring arrived. We might have forgotten about the storm. Except hundreds (thousands?) of trees still bowed down.
We took the chainsaw and cut overhanging branches, clearing our road around the property. Barry cut trees hanging over his lawn-mowing path. We’ll use the cut-up saplings as kindling for next year’s fires. We might continue to cut for a week and probably not finish, but we have other work to do.
In the meantime we split, haul and stack firewood for next winter. We plant the garden: so far carrots, onions, broccoli, peppers tomatoes, chard, lettuce, spinach.
Another storm will come, dear ones. It’s the way of Mother Nature, it’s the way of life. Trees or animals or humans will die. Our hearts will break, again and again and again.
Today I feel the question is this: Can we allow our hearts to break in a way that opens to creativity, acceptance, new solutions, caring, compassion? Or will we close down, shutter up tight, beat ourselves up for the pain we feel? (And if we do so, mercy to the parts of us that shut down. Mercy to those precious parts, too.)
And, for this morning, I look out the window at blue skies, leaves fluttering in the wind, fuchsia blooming.
The peace after the storm. Wishing blooms of it in all our hearts today.
How have you been weathering the emotional storms lately?
I like your question. I think we can all agree that hearts break, but you’re right in that it is a choice as to what we do about it. Your photos of the trees down are a powerful reminder that we don’t always get what we want, but we can do our best to deal with what is. Stay safe, be careful with that chainsaw.
Good morning, Ally Bean! You sure said that right–we don’t always get what we want, but we can our best to deal with what is. We try to be very careful with both the chainsaw and splitter. Don’t want any “storms” to develop around either of those!
We have had winters (and springs) when the ice made all our trees bend over. We have oldish birch and most of them are permanently damaged. Their lifetimes are short now, as each winter harms them more. I remember one winter morning waking up to see every single tree in our yard bent into an upside down U and crying at the destruction. About half of those trees survived but are permanently disabled, no longer standing tall. I will miss them when the rest of them succumb . We’ve been planting trees, though, every year for the 25 years we’ve been here, to replace those that will surely leave us soon. It won’t be the same. But it won’t be horrible either. We adjust. As we must.
Dawn, I am sorry that you have experienced the harm to your dear birch trees. I think every one of us who live with trees as companions must face the storms that come through and take our loved ones. How wonderful that you’ve been planting all these years! We don’t plant, but mostly because we’re in the middle of the woods with a lot of trees. 🙂 I like your comment about adjusting. What else can we do? Hugs…
Wow! What a mess you had and how noble you were in coping with the aftermath. And so we all keep struggling with the aftermath of other storms like Covid-19 and the destructive riots on the streets of our cities. Stay strong in the face of nature and even in the face of other storms that are manmade.
Dor, you’ve made me smile a tiny bit. If we had been maybe *a bit more noble* maybe we would have rushed in during early spring (like our neighbors) and industriously sawed away all the debris and leaning trees. Yes, there are so many storms right now, it seems. I wanted to add “riots” to nature’s storms but don’t really know the line between something so blatantly human and Mother Nature. I guess they’re one and the same, but part of me wants to shake my finger at mankind and say “Let’s all just grow up here, learn to love human beings of all skin colors and persuasions and learn to peacefully co-exist without violence.” You can’t really shake your finger at Mother Nature and say that in quite the same way.
It seems storms are coming in more fiercely and frequently these years. It seems we must learn to toughen up, shore up our defenses, and cling to the spots of light, All of your words seem to me to have an underlying statement – and the current storms this country is suffering are, I believe, the most fearsome I have ever seen – because. Because we have a “leader” who has no clue how to handle things and will listen to no one who might have. Because we have weathered these storms in decades past, more than once, and we appear to have learned nothing. We talk big about change, then time passes and our fervor dies down, and nothing changes. Unless we start to learn from our history, and act upon what we learn, we will suffer the same fate as those ice-laden trees.
You caught the underlying metaphor, Carol *smile, but sad smile* These do seem like the most fearful of storms, storms to break a person’s heart clean in two. I wish for leadership that would work to bring us together and not divide us. However, I have seen leadership trying to do that and still people are fighting, angry and hateful. It does seem we have learned very little as a species about how to get along. The next storm comes, and the next and the next, and here we are again. I don’t know what it would take to shift the current paradigm. I truly don’t.
Yes, a broken heart can lead to creativity. Sometimes I feel that my he dr t writing stems from despair. (But I would trade that creativity for peace and contentment, at least sometimes.) XOXO
Stacy, it sounds like you have had a long weary life of many storms. It would be nice to have periods of sunshine or peaceful lakes in your heart. Times when peace and contentment might visit for tea and cookies. You must have so much courage to have endured so much. Gently admiring what you’ve been through…<3
Thank you. No admiration necessary. I just refuse to give up. I have to much to lose (people) by throwing in the towel. And that typo should have been the word “best.” 😉
I was trying to make sense of that word! 🙂 But even though admiration isn’t necessary, I retain the right to feel it. *smile*
Love your writings Kathy.
Kim, it warms my heart to think you read my blog. Thank you so much. I hope everything is going well in your world downstate.
Gentle, tender, metaphorical, poignant, and symbolic you are, my dear friend. I love this piece.
Susan Dee…you so get it. I wanted to share photos of this storm (for one thing the kids haven’t seen the damage) but I also wanted to write about the aftermath of so many emotional storms we’ve all been dealing with. Last night there was no clue how this could be accomplished. Lay in bed totally befuddled about how to write in metaphor in a way that would bridge the physical and the spiritual/emotional worlds. Your encouragement means maybe it was accomplished. xoxoxo
I think the only way to survive anything in our world is to remember that we humans are part of nature, as is every other living thing. And yes, those storms will come again – and we’ll find the strength (from somewhere) to weather them.
I’m so glad you’re blogging again, Kathy. I’ve read your first few posts since your return but didn’t have the energy to comment on them. Hugs.
How really lovely to see you again, Val. Your name had popped up in my mind recently and I had intended to go see what you’ve been doing. I, too, think about human beings as a part of nature, especially lately. Thank you for reading and no worries about not commenting–sometimes it just seems that our energy needs to go inward and not outward as much. Hugs back to you…
I’m struggling right now.
How odd for me not to leave a smart ass comment.
Dear Sybil, it was good to Message with you the other night. Please let me know anytime you want to talk. xoxoxo
We must let our hearts break otherwise we would lose our compassion. Life was never meant to be easy, I really believe that life’s storms no matter in what form they come in, make us stronger. What we have to do is weather that storm, learn from it and hope it makes us a better person.
Bright Blessings to you and yours.
Tilly, I really like what you expressed here. When our hearts break open–that’s when the compassion can really arise. Thanks you for sharing your wisdom and Bright Blessings back to you!
Another lovely, thoughtful and deep bit of writing here! Lately, whatever the storm, I am trying to practice thinking, “that is helpful because…” I was saying, “it’s good that that happens because…” but, really. Not always good. Life has gotten too serious for that. But in the worst of times, we can, maybe, find a way that it will help, in the long run, to make us better, to make the world a better place. Thanks for your open-hearted, kind point of view!
Cindy, I am really liking your “helpful” practice. What a good way to look at it. I do believe that storms are sometimes necessary and can help make us stronger if we’re able to weather them. Ever since my last emotional storm I have been experiencing lots of creativity and–even–are you ready for this?–art! Baby art, but art nonetheless. 🙂
I have to say this…. Your post is absolutely BRILLIANT. Storms cause havoc and pain and downed branches/lives/souls. We regenerate. We regrow and rebuild. We grow stronger. After each storm, we grow more resilient. I do believe that. I can’t say it any better than what Tilly says, above, and Cindy, and Val and …. you have really wise followers!
Why your compliment sets my inner writer to smiling and repeating to herself, “BRILLIANT, she said!” LOL. Your comment, as well, falls in that category. As do many–if not all–of your posts! Moving resiliently into this day and seeing what the heck it will bring. It’s looking like it might bring the promise of a haircut appointment in the near future.
My brilliantly silver-streaked, wild hair will be tamed next Tuesday . Can’t wait! I’ll toast to you and your brilliance – and hair cut – while in “the cutting chair.” xo
As I often say, nature is as brutal as it is beautiful… That was quite a storm you had for Thanksgiving! We humans prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And then try to make the best of things, however life unfolds. Love is followed by loss and I think we get better at coping with that inevitability as we gain experience. Knowing this is what makes life so precious and sweet.
Yep, Barbara, Mother Nature can be brutal and ruthless. Whether it’s animals eating animals to survive, or tsunamis killing thousands…we really never know. I agree with you that somehow this not-knowing what’s going to happen next has the potential to make us appreciate our precious lives. Thank you! (PS One of the reasons I wanted to post these pictures was to show my son what it’s like around here.)
Nice write up Kathy…. Its extremely nice
Thank you, lordmira.
Insightful and profound. I learned many years ago to not get too happy or complacent because something is always waiting around the bend to let me know that I am only in charge of some things. Mother nature, as you have written rules the universe.
Yes, Yvonne, you’ve stated in perfectly. We are only in charge of SOME things, or so it appears. The Universe has its way of running its course, and the best we can sometimes do is try and align with it.