A doozy of a storm blew through Ontario, Canada on Saturday, May 21. In Ottawa, the storm caused more damage than either our legendary ice storm of 1998 or our more recent tornado. The tornado destroyed 80 hydro poles; this storm toppled 300.
We lost power for 7 days.
At that, we were lucky. Most houses in our neighbourhood are still without. As I write this, I hear generators in the distance. And chainsaws. And sirens.
Living without power for that long is disorienting for people of the 21st Century. We couldn’t focus. Routines fell apart. Sleep patterns were disrupted. We ate differently, and our digestive tracts protested. We moved from one room to another with a flashlight in one hand while flicking a (useless) light switch with the other.
Unable to work, or do pretty much anything, people moved around neighbourhoods like zombies. We mourned the loss of beloved trees. So many trees toppled or torn in two.
The event reminded us of the cruel indifference of nature. Sometimes a perfectly healthy tree had snapped while older, sicker ones nearby stayed standing.
The storm was not “fair” or “unfair.” It was its wild self.
Through it all, when we met neighbours on our walks, we counted our blessings:
- We didn’t have bombs falling on our heads.
- Gunmen were not shooting up our schools.
- We had access to generators.
- We had to worry about losing food, so that meant we had food to lose.
- We had no internet, but we had data plans!
I found another blessing while burning up data on my phone powered by a generator, I read a post on one of my favourite Facebook pages: The View From Connaught Pond, Grant Dobson | Facebook. I learned that the prickly pear cactus can thrive in Canada. I never would have thought it! That simple knowledge gave me joy in our time of frustration.
Another spot of joy came when I dug around in my garden and came upon some puffballs. I hadn’t seen them since I was a kid tromping around our farm woodlot. It was a simple, silly thing, but it brought light to my day when electricity couldn’t.
Watch the puffball, and tell me, what brought you gratitude and joy today?