It is Thursday, four days after our most unwelcome guest, Irma, dropped in, trashed the place, and swept out, leaving us exhausted, relieved, traumatized, grateful, and a few other emotions I haven’t yet identified. Life will not be back to “normal” for some time. Still, I can assure you that we are all fine, just fine. The horses went through the storm like the calm and connected herd that they are.
The dogs were anxious, but brave.
and we, the humans in this operation, were down right awesome.
I could tell you stories of logistics. How, for example, we strung a rope from the house to the barn to enable us to reach the horses in a desperate moment. Or how, Russ, the RingPower serviceman — and I use the term service in the highest order here — concocted a work around for the failed control panel on the generator, laboring late into the night to give us push button startup for when the electricity went down, as we all knew it would.
Jamie and Jennifer, my good buddies down here, are coming over for a shared meal tonight and we will surely tell each other such stories and more, especially how it is to be keepers of horses in the catastrophically large event that was Hurricane Irma.
Our logistical engenuity got us through, no doubt about it, but there are other, smaller experiences that are proving strong in rooting me to the ground, giving me a sense of wonder and awe at the beauty and resiliency of this world that enfolds me.
The waiting and watching Irma’s capricious directional decision-making was nerve-wracking, hunkering down against the storm made time stand still, but walking the property post Irma was a fresh and exhilarating experience. The horses were giddy to be loose.
The dogs even more so.
We knew we were safe and the energy of the backside winds pushing us along under startling blue skies and scuttling clouds made me feel an electrical connection with the mother of us all, Earth. We greeted each part of the small patch of her that is ours to caretake, in awe of what stood steadfast and what had fallen in the wake of the wind. The aliveness was palpable, yours for the taking. I suppose danger does that to you; heightens your awareness. I like to think of it as the energy of the Earth reaching out to pump fists and give high fives — we made it, we are still here!
There is always an adventure bigger than yours. Our neighbors’ family was forced to evacuate from the west coast and landed at their farm — eight children under the age of ten, including three foster children, two in diapers! Surely those kids must have been terrified during the horrible awfulness of that night. I asked Emily, age nine, about her experience and she said, well, they made play doh creations, watched movies, and got to have ice cream when they usually don’t get to, so it was pretty good. What was I thinking? There is a childlike experience of joy inside every potentially scary experience. You know why? Because the adults in her life made it be so. They made her feel safe and that the night was special and they were all together. I have no doubt that there was as much worry going on in their house as was in ours, but they made the night magic for the kids. I love and am in awe of the mighty, wonderful human beings that they are.
I want to think that this is what we did for the ten dogs and eleven horses that were in our keep; maybe not a magical night, but one where they knew they were safe and watched over.
Know this: I have endless love for Ocala with its rolling hills and horse farms. I wish I could capture for you how beautiful it is here; how the sun lingers in a wonderful halo for the longest time at night, bathing all in its path with the touch of angels. And, though Irma commanded her fair share of downed trees and flooded low lands, it is still beautiful here …. and, most importantly, it is home.