Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it.

Winston Churchill said that.

I like this one best today, though:

Nature, with equal mind,
Sees all her sons at play,
Sees man control the wind,
The wind sweeps man away. ~ Matthew Arnold

Our tiny town full of trees has been blown down by gale force winds. Surrounding towns are digging their way out as well.

Children all through the school district are on a second 4-day weekend in a row.

We were without power for 2 days.  Many are still without power, which means no heat or hot water for a majority. Hundreds of thousands of people without power or heat, and thousands of us in the foothill communities with damages from fallen trees and power lines and flying debris.

It was an exhausting 48 hours on top of an exhausting previous month.

Trying to take stock of the work ahead to clean up all the wind damage.  Also, it’s time to rescue the house from the previous month’s toll. As I look around, feeling overwhelmed, I am striving for perspective.

The fact is, it could have all been much worse. Much, much worse.

Our family and our friends’ families are all safe and uninjured.  Recovery is happening all around.  Our town and a couple of surrounding towns are in an official State of Emergency, but there is not panic or terrible behavior in the streets.  (Unless you count the horrific driving I’ve witnessed over the last few days without traffic lights….)

Roads are getting unblocked and people are doing the same thing everywhere: taking stock, cleaning up, planning ahead.

(I am starting to feel like the Mighty Wind was indeed cleansing. You’re welcome for the earworm.)

There are so many trees down, and there has been a lot of structural damage. But a wondrous lack of human casualties. There have been only one or two reports of serious injuries, and I feel truly sorry for those people, while feeling greatly relieved that it wasn’t worse.

The majority of people living in L.A. are untouched by this, and that speaks to how incredibly dense and, at the same time, how spread out our city is. With approximately 300,000 people without power, the city simply marches on, clueless. How disconnected we are, one from another, in this “connected” age.

I am reflecting on all these things. On the loss of technology in our own little house, for such a short period of time, and how greatly it impacted us. On neighborhoods and communities and how wildy different they are in today’s cyberworld compared to, say, fifty years ago.

It’s a good refresher course, when you suddenly find that you must use candles for light and fire for warmth. Simplicity in your food and clothing choices reigns supreme: what will keep us fed and what will keep us warm.

I had forgotten how much I love candlelight, all by itself.  Not a candle lit in a room with various electronic devices on everywhere, in and out.  No. A plethora of candles lighting an otherwise pitch black dwelling.

How truly dark it is outside, at the foot of a mountain, when the power is gone.

And how nice it was to sit, all four together, in the living room at night, waiting it out as a family. The animals seemed especially grateful to have all their humans so close by. Although, so as not to wax too poetic, often the talk was about how long it would be until there was power again. Ha! My husband hooked the kids up with various small electronic devices that were partially charged to pass the dark evening hours by flickering candlelight.  He worked in the same suit two days in a row without complaining and charged devices and brought home bread from work. Everyone was doing what needed doing.

(I even got the kids to help me rake and haul debris for a couple of hours on Friday. Wow.)

Conserving was important. Save water aside, since the city’s water pump was struggling and they might have to turn the water off entirely.  Charge the cell phone in the truck, but only enough for emergency contact, not enough for pissing away on facebook or amazon.com.

Necessities.  I found myself utterly thankful that we had running water and a gas fireplace, not to mention a gas water heater.  And plenty of candles. But what about the vast numbers of humans on the planet without even these necessities? It is best to be humbled by the things we have and appreciate them, because our necessities are luxuries in other households, world wide. So, we were okay and I’m so grateful for it.

And! The last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.  I think they made the first night utterly bearable. Now, there is a lot of food in our fridge and freezer that will be tossed, but we managed to save plenty too. We had food.

There remains plenty to be thankful for, plenty to celebrate – thank goodness for that! And the winter holidays lie straight ahead.  Baking and friends and family and seasonal love.

….. just as soon as we clean all the damn mess! ;p

~m

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