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?