When Sandra and I and our four indoor cats came home from the shelter, we could not even turn into our driveway. It was choked with fallen branches.
I had feared something like this. As we neared home, the detours became more frequent with fallen trees blocking the road. Passing a mobile home park, I saw twisted aluminum scattered about.
I didn’t want to look at our house. The eye of the storm had apparently passed right over our home (see illustration).
Every inch of the yard was knee deep in branches, twigs and leaves. The trees had taken a terrible beating.
If Irma had chewed up our trees liked that, I wondered, what had she done to our house?
Tim, our strapping young neighbor, was waiting for us. He moved me out of the way as I tugged at a massive branch and took over the job of clearing the driveway. Then he offered to string an extension cord to our house so we could have power.
Our house is connected to the subdivision behind us, not to the other homes on our street, Tim explained. So they had power while we didn’t.
I demurred at first but I am a diabetic and my insulin has to be kept cold. I thanked him and told him he was probably saving my life. Now we would have power for the refrigerator, the coffee pot and a lamp.
That was a great blessing.
When I finally worked up the courage to take a look at the house, I was amazed.
A branch leaned against the breezeway, but the roof was clear and the windows were all unbroken. The house had been spared.
As Sandra and I unpacked the cats and the things we had taken to the shelter, I wondered at our escape. The yard would be cleaned up, the trees would recover. The two outdoor cats, which we had left barricaded in the garage with food and water, showed up for their supper as usual.
The night at the shelter had been torture – nowhere to sleep, perched for hours and hours on the hardest plastic chair ever manufactured, with yapping dogs, failing power, blinding flashlights and the kind of snoring that would put a power saw to shame.
And the wind! It roared like a freight train. I expected the shelter’s glass doors to collapse at any moment. It was terrifying.
Sandra and I – and the cats – had endured a night of sheer horror! But it sure beat the alternative.
Our lives have been spared. The cats are safe and well. Our house is unscathed.
Our power is back and life has returned to normal. For us, anyway.
In Irma’s aftermath, floods persist in many nearby neighborhoods, keeping families from their homes. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are still struggling to deal with the loss of power and the wreckage of their homes.
Headlines like this remind us how fortunate we are:
Hurricane Irma: 80% without power in Polk Co., trees smash homes, vehicles
It has to be the prayers. Thank you. And, most of all, thank you, Lord.