We were nervous and concerned when we went to bed last Sunday night. Not for ourselves, but for our daughter and son-in-law in Orlando, which was expected to get pounded by Hurricane Irma during the night.

On Monday morning, we talked to our daughter, who told us they had a scary and sleepless night, and now had a yard full of tree limbs and other debris, but only minor damage from the storm. And, miraculously, they still had power, while most of the surrounding areas didn’t.

Shortly after we talked to her, our power went out. Irma had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached us, but it was still pretty formidable. 45-mile-per-hour winds might seem like a gentle breeze compared to the 150+-mile-per-hour winds that other areas had suffered through, but they were still strong enough to uproot trees, knock down telephone poles and power lines, and snap a traffic signal light off its post.

We spent most of Monday listening to the pounding rain, as well as watching our deck, dock, and yard fill up with falling leaves and limbs. And we sweated as we watched the tall pines in our back yard bending and swaying in a threatening manner.

We were fortunate, though. None of them came down, and we had no real damage. After a day or two of cleaning up the yard, we were over the worst of it – except for the electricity, which didn’t come back on till Friday night.

So for the better part of a week, we had no lights, no phone, no internet, no hot water, and cold water that was down to barely a trickle. We were told not to drink it unless we boiled it first, which was a moot point, since our stove is electric.

It was a difficult week, but we kept reminding ourselves that there were many, many people who had it way worse than we did – some who had roofs caved in or flooded basements, and others who lost everything and whose lives would never be the same.

Now that the storm is behind us and we’re getting back to normal, we’re looking at some of the lessons and reminders that Irma left us. It’s times like this, after all, that remind us to appreciate the things in life we always take for granted. Times like this teach us to remember and respect the power of nature. And times like this remind us that it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves and each other, and this precious planet that is home to us all.

September 16, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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