I am grateful for stormy weather and though I credit Hurricane Dorian for this, I qualify this by stating the Dorian I wrestled with in Nova Scotia was a very distant relative of the Dorian that seriously harmed the Bahamas and other regions. I am not grateful for that Dorian, nor would I ever make light of such tragedy.
Hurricane Dorian has come and gone from Nova Scotia, one of those uninvited guests that you are glad to see the last of, but there is always a lesson to be learned while he is here.
Ample warning was given by Environment Canada and the Nova Scotia Weather Service, but readiness has never been my strong suit. I’m not sure if that is stupidity or something else, but climate change has kicked my preparedness up a notch or two, with some slip-ups here and there. I broke with my usual protocol and actually performed some preparedness tactics. I tied down my lawn chairs and put away anything that had a fear of flying. I filled buckets of water for flushing and washing and jugs of water for drinking and cooking. I filled my car with gas in case I wanted to make a run for it. And most importantly, I brewed up a big batch of rice pudding to keep up my strength and resolve and …. But at 2 a.m. the night before Dorian was to make landfall and knock us around, I remembered my rain gutters. No worries, I had a plan: wake up at daylight, beat the wind and rain that wasn’t forecast until 10 a.m., give or take, and I drifted back to sleep, smug and confident.
I heard the rain at daybreak, pounding the roof and windows. I swore under my breath, nothing too serious I thought, but as I pulled on my rain suit my smugness was slightly diminished. I climbed the ladder as if I was in some version of a Charlie Chaplin film, pelted by rain, but Gracie stood close by, ready to alert the authorities should I fall to my death. I prevailed, gutters clean as Dorian began to throw his weight around. Note to self: clean gutters in the calm sunshine before a storm, never during. I should have that engraved on a plaque perhaps and mounted on my ladder.
The power went out not long after the storm hit and began flinging trees into power lines and as I write this, I still have no power, but I’m not alone. 500,000 customers across Atlantic Canada were in the same boat and many have been restored, but it looks like a few more days for me. Nova Scotia Power will get to me when they can. I have a fire going, and camp coffee in my cup and sun in my face so what else do I need. This is like a hangnail compared to what others endured. I am warm and dry and my tree that snapped off and fell into the neighbour’s yard allowed me to play lumberjack with my handy dandy chain saw and how much fun is that. I could do with a shower, but my teeth are clean and most of my face.
The thing about hurricanes and the like, that strip us of our comfort and amenities, is we are provided opportunity to reflect on that which matters. Life slows down to a pace that allows for exhaling and inhaling deeply. While Dorian roared through, sounding very much like a freight train or the Big Bad Wolf, I was safe and warm in my little house in the woods. Other than braving the elements for Gracie’s bathroom breaks, I was happy and content, not worrying about the tumbleweed of dog hair moving around my house or the fact that my appearance would frighten small children. I close my eyes and drift away, listing all the things I am grateful for, all of you being on that list, my daughters who checked in regularly to keep my spirits up, my neighbour who brought me pizza and a ginger ale and a butane stove, Gracie who was ever so grateful I braved the elements for her while branches blew by my head and so many leaves that I got the giggles. Life is good.