March 15, 2017We awoke to a roaring lion Wednesday morning. Pines and maples flailing. The green vase on the patio table toppled over and rolled off the edge and onto a chair. I winced at the crack of breaking glass. March claimed my backyard beacon.
Wind damage is common out here on the hill. I can't count the dismembered garden chimes I've gathered with regret.
As a new build years ago, gales ripped the siding right off the west side of our house. Thankfully, the replacement cost was within our builder's one-year warranty. Welcome to country living.
We planted the row of pines for a storm and sun shield and ran to the basement when the house shook from what seemed a passing freight train. The trees waxed. Our fear waned. Often, Nature prevailed over DTE.
Yes, we've suffered our share of power outages. I've learned to see this Act of God as our right of passage back into the natural world—an opportunity to practice skills our forefathers depended upon.
For instance, in one energy failure, I filled buckets from our rain barrels and boiled water on a propane burner. A bar of soap completed the bath.
The gratification from that experience enlightened me. In my educational and spiritual pursuits, I had overlooked how to survive. My mother's mantra, "use what you have," took on new meaning. A woman who had pumped water from an outside well for her childhood household, Mom would've laughed out loud at my resourcefulness.
With a positive attitude, sudden deprivation can build strong character and strengthen relationships. Today, a fellow writer told our critique group that a friend took in her family when their power went out.
"I didn't want to go home. Her house is cleaner than mine," she joked.
Ah! Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Several years ago, it was a cold November night when our youngest daughter and her husband offered us shelter. Three nights. During the day, I worked with her laptop and monitored DTE'S online grid indicating restored power.
What fun to serve my family dinner when they returned home tired and hungry. We gathered around their fireplace, a pleasure our schedules would not have allowed otherwise.
Wednesday's wind purged the woods of dead ash trees, littered our road with branches and limbs, some places near impassable. When my computer flickered off, our generator started up. This happened several times with no need to draw buckets of water, gather candles before dark, and secure a warm bed for the night.
When I prepared dinner, I felt a small sense of victory. We've invested heaps of research and income into a more sustainable and economical life, and it's paying off.
Dear Reader, as I forced the jagged bottom of the green vase into a backyard garden, I realized natural consequences of our electrical independence.
We no longer need our children's lodging.
And what shall I do to practice survival skills?
Oh, yes! Beware the Ides of March—gardeners say an ideal day for sowing spring peas.
Email Iris at email@example.com.