Hurricane Irma came and went and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Honestly, this whole week/month doesn’t feel very real. Since the storm came, it often feels like I’m just floating through everything. Not, in a dreamy cloud way, but maybe moron a repetitive through the motions way. Well, at least since we got power back.

We got lucky. Really lucky. I don’t know what things would look like now like if this storm hit us full on how we had originally planned/been told. Honestly, I’m not even sure what category the winds of the hurricane were in when it passed through Florida. I don’t think it was a 5. I think it was bouncing between 3 and 4 as it passed through. But the storm went west. But even going west, there were a lot of damages in this area. I can only imagine what this experience was like for the people’s homes it actually hit dead on. Entire islands were demolished.

I feel like I’ve been in a cave since the hurricane hit. Or actually, I guess I sort of have been. Our entire county has been on a curfew since the day before the storm. The day of the storm, the power went out. And it feels like I was living in some other space. Some where that doesn’t quite feel like real life.

Like I told Marlowe and Alex, billions of people live without power every single day. So we can handle a few days for sure. I think the only thing I worried about was the heat. Not for us, we can handle a 90 degree house (Marlowe and I lived in this home for 5 months without air conditioning when we moved in), but I worried more so for the people who can’t. Life without light, wifi, refrigeration, ac, all of this was okay for me. Really okay. I habitually and pointlessly went to turn on the lights in the kitchen more times than I could count. And suggested blended soups once or twice, forgetting a blender is a device that requires a bit of power. But we had running and warm water— and for that, man I am grateful. I can take the heat, I can take the lack of power, but I think the lack of showers (that many people have had to deal with) would have gotten to me.

Each day without power I knew I could complain or I could make the best of it. And after dealing with a storm and seeing thousands of other homes be destroyed, I really felt that there wasn’t any place for me to complain. I would make the best out of it and feel grateful too.

Marlowe and I spent hours upon hours reading. A bit of crafting. And a lot more time outside. I’ve written about it before, but I hate the box. I hate the idea of living in a closed space with fake blasting air, leaving said box to drive in another box, to take you to a completely different box. I hate the box. I hate that living. So for me, the storm brought a feeling of security that I am/ we are doing something right by going to Guatemala.

I crave the days where the windows are consistently open and the streets are filled with people. The post storm days felt like this. The damages were obvious waking up and stepping outside the morning after the storm. My neighborhood felt alive though. Whole fences fallen over or gone, massive trees blocking entire roads and neighborhoods, and yard destroyed, but at least there were people outside, working together, communicating. The only other time I’ve ever seen so many of my own neighbors was after a very random power outage one day. A friend texted me and said that something like 600 trees had fallen in my 1 mile neighborhood alone. I’m not sure if this is true. But I think I would believe it. I’m not even sure how many days it’s been since the storm, maybe 6? But not everyone has power yet, the trees are everywhere, entire street lights are still out, and more. Our state is in rough shape. It looks like it’s been worn, used, and abused.

And we were the lucky ones that the storm missed.

I finished the book The Glass Castle the week without power. I picked it up a day or two before the storm (the book store seemed like the best pre-hurricane prep stop). And there is something about the combination of living without electricity and reading such an intense biographical story of a life growing up in extreme poverty that really just pushed me into a weird trance. I’m not sure how else to describe it. You guys already know that I’m striving to live on less. I feel like a broken record these days with how often I bring it up. But especially after all the events of this week, I’m feeling it. I question every action I take. I’m questioning everything. Why are we forced to feel like we need SO much to ‘live well’? We live in a world filled with such extremes and I think we often forget how big the gap is between our day-to-day reality and someone else’s.

More than ever before, I feel more confused and more certain about my own thoughts and morals.

I’m so incredibly grateful for what I have, but I’m ready to change it.

Like I said, we are lucky.

1 Comment

  1. Wow. Your post really resonated with me. I was on the west coast of Florida when the storm hit and we went without electricity for almost five days. It was a rough week for us. Like you, we had water and thankfully, the water stayed warm to lukewarmish the entire time.

    The weather was in the 90’s here, in the days to follow, so it was tough. We kept the windows open but there was no breeze. The air was completely still. We tried to make the best of it but on the last day, we were getting heat exhaustion. It also caused a lot of breathing problems for me and my daughter, as we are both asthmatics.

    We made the best out of a crappy situation. We left a lot and went out to eat. To be honest, it was really tough to find places open but as the days passed, more and more places opened up. We also read a lot. I even read a story to my daughter about fairies and she’s 15, lol.

    The sense of community was amazing. I hadn’t realized how little I talk to my other neighbors, but everyone was working together and communicating. I really like that aspect of what happened.

    For me, the toughest part was the feeling of helplessness that proceeded. Not knowing when the power would be turned on, as we had a lot of broken street lights and down wires and trees in our town. I also felt a profound sense of loneliness. I felt isolated and disconnected from the world. It was an awful feeling.

    I realized though, it was because I was still grieving over the loss of my grandson Noah. He died just a couple weeks prior to this and he was only two months old. So, the hurricane was kind of a pile on of emotion for my family.

    When the power finally came back on Thursday night, I felt so electric and alive. I have never been more grateful in my life. It was a tough experience, but it taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

    Sorry, this is so long. I didn’t mean for it to be. I just had a lot to say about this life-changing experience. I don’t even feel like the same person anymore. In a good way 🙂

    I’m so glad you guys are okay. I was worried about you and you and your family were in my prayers!