Windstorms and Candles

By Veronica

Yesterday a windstorm blew through our midwestern city, the last gasp of Hurrican Ike. We had no rain, no thunder, no tornadoes. Just hurricane-force winds (so they tell me), shaking the trees and rolling up the roofs like scrolls.

My husband is now outside, gathering the dead branches that litter our yard. After he dragged the heavy limbs to the brush pile, he asked our four-year-old and three-year-old to help. Now they are outside, wandering after Daddy, gathering the sticks and twigs that their little arms can carry. They smile and chatter, full of the joy of helping.

Yesterday we had no electricity. The power went out in 90% of the city. Out the window we could see the stark line of darkness where the power outage began. One neighborhood was lit up like a Christmas tree; another was blacked out except for the occasional passing headlight. It looked as though our city had shrunk to a small town.

During a blackout, our seedy little neighborhood changes. My immediate neighbors – nice folks all – sit out on their porches, chatting about the storm and sharing the latest news from the power company. People who only speak to each other once a year laugh and gab like the best of friends. We watch each other’s houses and cars, noticing damage and recalling other storms and other repairs. Last night the couple at the end of the street congratulated us on our new baby and offered to let us cook our meals on their gas range if the power was not restored soon.

I lit the candles by six o’clock so I would not need to find matches in the dark. The day’s light faded and we hoped for power, but it did not come. Still, we could see enough to get by, meaning enough to change newborn diapers through the night. One candle looks like nothing in the sunshine; at night, it illumines the entire room.

Our power was restored by 5 am. Over 500,000 people in our city are still without electricity. It will take all week for the problem to be completely resolved. In the meantime, we help each other gather up the debris, knowing there is joy in helping, and we light candles together against the dark.

And to all our neighbors far to the south who have experienced the more devastating losses of the hurricane: we pray for you and your communities, and we hope that you recover quickly from the loss of things harder to restore than electricity.

Veronica gave birth to her fourth daughter a little over a week ago, and when the baby lets her, she can be found blogging at Toddled Dredge.

6 Responses to Windstorms and Candles
  1. Megan
    September 16, 2008 | 9:15 am

    I’ve had all of y’all on my mind the past few days. I am so thankful it wasn’t more severe than it turned out to be, but so sorry for the devastation it wrought, even “weaker” than it was supposed to be. I remember living in Atlanta when I was a little girl and having to go stay at the elementary school overnight with all the other neighborhood families because the power was out and the temps so cold. I’m sure it was scary for my parents, but the feeling of comraderie and the laughter and connection with others in those hours stiller linger for me as a HAPPY memory. I love that people still, even these times, come together when we’re in peril by a non-human force. My husband often jokes that we’ll never have world peace until or unless we’re all invaded and threatened by aliens. Well, blessed be the ties that bind, no matter where they come from.

  2. Kelly
    September 16, 2008 | 2:03 pm

    Nothing unites people like a crisis.

    Too bad it can’t stay that way.

    The unity. Not the crisis.

  3. Beck
    September 18, 2008 | 8:24 am

    I’m glad that everything is getting fixed in your city!
    Three years ago, a big storm tore through town and uprooted trees, knocked down power lines and ripped off roofs. It was an AWESOME amount of destruction. And the local paper interviewed me about the storm and I sounded like a moron, the end.

  4. Trevor Bernard
    November 12, 2008 | 9:47 pm


  5. seo
    March 26, 2012 | 6:02 am

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Find More Informations here: […]…

  6. Para Ma
    April 15, 2012 | 3:29 am

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL