The lights went off at somewhere around 7:30 last night. The actual time is probably available from the energy company. Computers instantly died, appliances lost all visual markings, the phones shut down, and the cell phones went quiet.
It was eerie. Here at the end of the grid, in a small valley the winds from the distant coast are moderated. The hills that they must cross to show their fury slow and gentle them.
But last night, the hills were not a sufficient barrier. The whistling went from a low moan to a raging scream. The oak trees released their seeds, the pines dropped their cones and all of them bent and whipped by the unusual turmoil. The normally protected front porch felt the force but held its own.
The dogs barked and cuddled closer. A warm throw blanket over their bodies and mine gave them solace.
The lights came back on, flickered and then left the house in blackness. There was stumbling and words of exasperation as the battery operated camp lights were located and allowed to give some light. The usual precautions were taken in the event that the lights would be out for some time.
The wind did not abate. The rain began.
At bedtime the pups gladly scrambled into their individual kennels, received their bedtime treats and curled into tight little balls of fur in the fleece lined quarters. It was harder to hear or feel the wind from their positions on the floor.
Sleep would not come. The wind forced branches to fall, cracking and crashing to the ground. It was impossible to tell where the sound came from. The old oak outside the bedroom window stood its ground like an ancient Ent protecting its forest. It gave hope and calmed frayed nerves.
Light flashed but it was atmospheric electricity. There was no human control of that energy. No thunder followed. Waiting for it made sleep impossible.
The wind continued to scream and, at times, raised its tone to hysterical highs. A look out the window proved the existence of rain. It could not be heard but it slammed into everything in its path–roof, tree, deck, fence. When the lightening came the wetness was clear. It came with the wind and stayed after the wind left.
But morning brought no man generated energy. The light from a thick, cloudy sky was quite welcome. The wind was gone. The rain had stopped.There was no physical damage to anything except our Ent of an oak. It sacrificed a few small branches. It had been protected by a pine to its windward side.
The road required the use of four-wheel drive to navigate. The main road was littered with branches and trees. The corners of the winding road were flooded. Care was needed to get to town.
After 21 hours, the power was restored. I thought, for a moment, that it could have stayed off for a bit more. There was a peace with no beeping or ringing or signalling. It had been quiet.
But I like brewed coffee and there is the need to cook. Returning to a power free existence is probably not my thing. Even here at the end of the grid.
It was a storm. Much milder than those that others have experienced. It brought much needed water. It cleared the air. And it educated many in the required respect for a small thing called a storm.