Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eye of the Storm

Some of you may remember my post about the last hail storm, how it tore through our gardens and ripped our roof to shreds. At the time that was the worst hail storm I had experienced so I would have no problem rating that as a 9 or 10. It turns out I am rather ignorant on such things.

Last night at around a quarter past ten we got hit by a storm that, based on my previous rating, would have been about a 37. Mother Nature must of been on her period and there was no chocolate left in the house. Someone was going to pay.

The noise was deafening and without power the experience was equally terrifying. Kris and I were shouting and barely able to make ourselves heard. I'm trying to light candles and get towels for the endless streams of water coming into our house. Kris says something about a window being broken and in that instant it sounded as if we were outside. The lighting came in bursts that illuminated every corner of our house but is was never followed by thunder, the wind was strong enough to stop the fan in our bedroom, and the smell of all the pine needles and leaves torn from their branches was overwhelming. By the time the hail stopped our rooms were filled with water, mud, leaves, and broken glass. Every receptacle and towel was soaked and that was just the damage on the inside.

When we finally made it outside it was like walking into a battlefield. Nothing was as it had been just minutes before. Trees were completely stripped of their leaves. Evergreens almost a century old were uprooted and laying prostrate across our street and homes. Our cars pitted like golf balls, windshields covered in intricate patterns of cracks. The top of our chimneys hurled across the driveway. People started collecting in small groups, calls were made to friends, family, and neighbors to see if everyone was safe and uninjured. We stood around for hours, watching the emergency crews, shivering, comparing damage and finally when we couldn't talk about the devastation anymore, we went back to our homes, completely drained.

The damage was so much worse in the harsh daylight. The jagged edges of split tree trunks, the rubbish plastered across our house, the refuse blown into our yard and the overall barrenness of the landscape was heartbreaking. I spent the day boarding up windows, sopping up water, vacuuming up hundreds of leaves, picking glass out of my feet and hands, wiping up mud, washing towels only to make them muddy again, making phone calls to insurance, crying and feeling totally vulnerable.

Although our home is damaged and our neighborhood left in tatters I am beyond grateful for our safety and relieved that we are able to stay in our house in spite of its condemned appearance. So many others had it infinitely worse. The human spirit is an extraordinary thing, capable of the most magnificent acts of kindness and generosity and I feel truly fortunate to have been able to experience that.

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