I hope everyone is faring better from the effects of Hurricane Sandy as time passes. My neighborhood is slowly making progress. Dry wall, insulation, and sofas, all heavy with water, are being loaded into dumpsters. Downed limbs are being trimmed and hauled away.
Power returns section by section. I got off relatively easily, with no damage, only the inconvenience of being without power for three days. For all the destruction that Sandy left behind, when I poked my head out of the door the first day after the hurricane, I started to see things that could be counted as gifts brought by nature. For one thing, without electricity to bring me TV and internet, I became more acutely aware of what was going on in my neighborhood.
There was the familiar and comforting sight of squirrels and birds returning to their favorite trees. I had seen them perform death-defying stunts in the gusty wind as Sandy approached.
The squirrels hanging upside down to grab one more fruit from the pear tree across the way. The birds crouching low, engaging the use of tendons that automatically curl their toes into a fist to help them hold tight as they perch. Both animals took wild rides as the branches thrashed in the wind. It struck me as tree-surfing, and I wondered if, in some way, it was fun for them. They disappeared when Sandy came on full force. But here they were the day after, seemingly gorging themselves on fruits – perhaps as a result of their release from a storm-induced fast?
Along with downed electric wires and tree branches blocking the path, I saw leaves of every hue blanketing the ground. When did the leaves get so red?
I thought it had been a rather drab autumn so far, but the red mixed with the green of fresh leaves severed too early from their tree, seemed like a harbinger of Christmas and better times to come.
And finally, after such sobering weather, cloud-covered days and, in the absence of electric lights, nights that seemed extra long, we were greeted with a dazzling sunrise.
It stood out brightly against the dark buildings; power hadn’t been restored yet. It chased away the clouds, which left trails of pink and salmon against the blue sky. I think I appreciated it more because sunny weather had been in such short supply in the days before. I took it as a signal that the storm had finally passed. We could continue clean-up, and healing, in full force, knowing that the threat was over for the time being.
Perhaps I had the luxury to notice these things because my home hadn’t been violated by flood waters. But the truth remains that these gifts really do exist for those who look to notice them. When faced with great tragedies, we need sustenance and rejuvenation to continue the struggle onward. Why not take some benefit and inspiration from noticing the beauty and tenacity of the world around us? Nature dealt us a destructive blow this week; perhaps a good treatment for our wounds is to seek inspiration from that same source as well.
Did you see or experience something in the aftermath of the storm that inspired you? Share it with us!