On the twelfth day of Christmas
Mother Nature gave to me (and a whole lot of other unsuspecting folks)
strong winds and seven days power-free.
Okay, okay, so it doesn't quite fit in with the tune of the original, but it's the best I can come up with on my first day back in my house after the ferocious storm that blew through here. Yup, those national (and international) news stories about the winter weather in the Pacific Northwest centered right here in our neck of the woods. We expected to lose power, so my youngest and I spent the morning of the storm filling the car with gas, my wallet with cash, and pirating batteries for the flashlights from every electronic kid-toy we have. (By the way, I'm not putting them back. In fact, I think life is much simpler and kinder without those toys for now...)
The first night without power was somewhat of an adventure, lighting candles, heating soup on the gas stove, going "potty" by flashlight. The following morning all of the neighbors congregated to share storm stories and I decided to walk the dog down to the woods to assess the damage. My poor dog, who was so terrified of the howling winds that he lost control of his bowels all over the carpet that night. Man, I've got to spend some time teaching him how to have accidents on the linoleum instead!
Anyway, the two of us stepped over massive fir trees (read: 50+ feet tall) that had been ripped from the ground, roots and all, and made our way down to the rushing creek. I lost sight of the dog for a moment and realized the retriever in him had taken over and called him to swim. I followed the thrashing sounds of a dog in water and found him trapped beneath a fallen tree, snout and eyes the only things showing above the rushing current of the freezing water. His eyes were wild and afraid, which jarred me because I've never seen him afraid of anything. I started to go in after him, but thought better of it and instead ran back to get help, not wanting to join him in the quicksand-like mud at the bottom of the creek.
My darling husband (now mostly recovered from his latest visit to the hospital) shot like a cannonball down to the creek and made his way across the tree to the dog as I talked calmly to him. In the end, all three of us were soaked but safe and I collapsed in tears almost instantly as our feet touched dry ground.
The next morning we packed up and moved to my sister-in-law's house, dog in tow. She and her partner opened their home and their hearts to us and for the next four days, we were treated with love and care. They fed us, gave us a warm place to sleep and play, and asked us to treat the house as if it were our own. I feel so incredibly lucky to have such loving people in our lives. My daughters got to know their auntie a lot better and we all crafted a more trusting relationship that may not have come about without this storm.
I apologize for the disjointed nature of this post. We finally got power to our house yesterday afternoon and today has been set aside for cleaning up and getting ready for Christmas, not for writing. I have so many wonderful stories of families and friends who reached out to others in this difficult time and I promise I will share all of them with you. I have recently been reminded of what Christmas is all about, trite as that may sound.
I hope you are all well and enjoying the company of loved ones.