Thankful for those who brave storms

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It looks like a bomb exploded on my deck. There are limbs, leaves and glass from my broken patio table everywhere. There is dirt and more leaves plastered against the side of the house.

Last night as a storm rolled through with the force that felt like a hurricane, we watched as wind ripped the outdoor shades down and tossed umbrellas in heavy stands around like matchsticks. With the security lights out because weather turned off the electricity, we heard crashing and bumping but couldn’t see all that was happening.

This morning I see the results. There are some good-sized trees down in the yard and so many limbs.

In the midst of the thunderstorm, I was stuck up the road from my house at the yoga studio. A friend and I rode it out together watching rain blow in straight sheets while the trees did what looked like a hula dance.

When things calmed down, we headed home. I made it almost to my house before finding a huge tree was blocking the road. I thought about leaving the car, climbing over the tree and hiking home in the mud.

Then I turned off the headlights and realized how dark it was with no lights on anywhere. I couldn’t even see the tree or the road.

I finally got in touch with my husband (thankfully cell phones were working) and I called 911. The dispatcher took my information and said there were trees down everywhere and crews were out working.

“I’ll notify River Falls fire,” she said, “but it might take them a little while to get to you.”

I thanked her and prepared to sit in the dark car for a spell. Luckily, our neighbor’s chain saw was working and he and my husband showed up to rescue me.

Just as I called 911 to let them know they were removing the tree so she could tell the fire folks we were fine, two trucks with lights flashing pulled up behind me. Several men from the fire department got out and helped get the rest of the tree out of the road. I thanked one of them as he walked past my car. However, I don’t think thank you was adequate to express how much I appreciated them showing up.

They headed out to help other folks who needed them, and I went home to a house lighted only by candles, which is a challenging thing in our world. My daughter who has autism struggles to understand when things shake up her routine, and no electricity is a big shake up.

As the candles flickered, I responded “yes” to her comment, “It will be back on,” what seemed like a million times. We tried breathing together to help her cope and I kept telling her how well she was handling things.

Just as we were on the edge of a meltdown, the lights returned and life went back to normal. I wanted to hug the folks who fixed whatever knocked out the power.

This morning surveying the mess, I think about the people who are waking up to so much worse. Some lost homes and would surely be grateful to trade places with me and only face a cleanup job.

I also thought about the firefighters and power crews and the police officers and all of those who were out working last night. Yes, we had a few hours in the dark, but I was inside a dry house while they were out in the rain, lightning and wind.

Sometimes it takes a storm to remind me of the things I often take for granted. The fact that there are people who make it their jobs to help us when we need help is one of those things I tend to overlook until the need arises.

So, today as I clean up, I’m counting my blessings. I am also offering a prayer of thanksgiving for those who brave the storms for the rest of us.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.