3 Lessons Learned from Hurricane Dorian
1. Surviving a Storm is 50% Luck and 50% Preparation
We were very lucky here in Mayfield. We lost a couple of roof shingles and a few spindles from our verandah. Our baby apple tree has a new “tilt” but was not uprooted. We had one leaky window (when the rain was pounding the house horizontally!) but no real harm done. We have no trees near to the house that could topple over and cause damage. I kept telling myself that this dear house has stood the test of time for over a century and surely it will withstand this storm, too.
Boy – did we ever prep for this storm! Our big “Knit Pickers” sign at the front of the property came down on Friday in advance of the hurricane. I sure did not want it flapping about in the height of the storm, perhaps hitting something or someone! We moved our lobster trap parking signs into the shed along with our trash bins, fire pit ring and bbq. We added extra bolts to the shed doors in hopes that the winds would not tear the doors off. Our wooden deck chairs were moved either into the studio or lashed securely to the verandah. As we are on well and septic, when we lose power, we lose water. So we filled all the fur-baby bowls with fresh water and filled the bathtub too so that we could have washing water and water to flush the toilets. We filled 3 thermoses full of coffee, cooked up a roast and a casserole and baked an extra loaf of bread. We recharged batteries, cell phones, computers. We laughed at ourselves, saying that we are so well prepared we won’t lose power! Wrong…..we lost it earlier than I thought we would. We really are counting our blessings as we were only without power for about 54 hours. (Photo courtesy of Brian MacInnis)
2. People are Inherently Kind
I can’t even begin to recount the number of stories I heard about people helping one another in the aftermath of this storm. Folks inviting you over for a warm drink, a meal, a shower because their power had been restored. Friends near and far checking in to be sure you were ok. Restaurants offering free bowls of chowder. But two stories really made my heart sing.
The crews from Maritime Electric have been working night and day to restore power to homes across the Island. One crew member lost a number of trees on his property but obviously wasn’t able to clean things up as he has been working non-stop. His neighbours all pitched in to clear out the trees and clean up his yard so, when he is finally able to return home, he won’t be facing a huge mess.
As the storm was approaching, campgrounds were closing to ensure that no campers were injured by falling trees. One couple was just at a loss trying to find a place to stay. They eventually came across an airbnb with a vacancy. They were anticipating that the rates might be inflated because visitors were desperate for accommodations. Just the opposite was the case! These operators refused to accept any payment whatsoever. They felt it was an emergency and the right thing to do was to provide shelter.
Lesson #2 is to focus on the good around us. We are constantly bombarded with bad news, breaking news of crimes, unethical behaviour, cruelty. Yes - it is so important to know what is going on and to take a stand against the wrongs in the world. But if we allow the wrongs of the world to blind us to all that is good around us, we begin to believe that there is nothing we can do to effect change and we become cynical.
3. No Storm Lasts Forever
Today is a glorious day on the Island. The sun is shining and there is lovely warmth in the air. I must admit – a day like today was hard to envision at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. The rain was lashing, the winds were howling and the house was vibrating. The ewer and bowl on my nightstand were rattling away and the poor fur babies’ eyes were as round as saucers. Of course, it was as black as black could be – no stars or moon to be seen and no electricity anywhere. Every couple of hours, I would wake up, grab a flashlight and check to be sure that we hadn’t sprung any new leaks. I don’t remember exactly what time I awoke on Sunday morning but it was so silent. A quick scan to make sure that everything was as it should be and then it was off to Cavendish to see if the shop that my sister manages was OK. It was but just a stone’s throw away, huge trees had toppled over bringing down power lines and coming to rest on nearby cottages. It was shocking. And it wasn’t just trees coming down. Corn fields were flattened. Some farms lost 50% of their apples. But the good news is that there was no loss of human life and I have heard no reports of loss of any farm animals. (Photo courtesy of Parks Canada)