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Good night Irene

August 30, 2011

While Irene came and went here on Cape Cod with almost no rain and a lot of wind, it got me thinking about the preparation that goes into any of Mother Nature’s bag of tricks. The day before the storm I – along with millions – executed my To Do list: buying supplies, moving lawn furniture, charging cell phones, shutting storm windows.

Then waited.

Saturday there was an eerie calm, the leaves not moving, the sun out. My folks and I walked the beach. The waves were gentle, the seagulls sparse and the shore littered with dead horseshoe crabs. Was that a sign? As the day wore on the sky turned gray, we did more errands, listened to the news, got done what we could. We watched a movie Saturday night and went to sleep.

Sunday morning was windy. We ventured out for a walk, got half a mile, saw police cars and a downed tree and went home. My dad – fearless, though I thought reckless – continued to the beach, reporting that the blowing sand stung his skin. By noon a large tree was down in our yard, taking with it a Verizon wire. And as Irene weeded dead branches, my mom and I weeded her closet.  No sooner did we finish that the power went out. The rest of the day the wind whipped and we watched bent trees holding strong. We used our cell phones sparingly, ate tuna fish for dinner, played Boggle by candlelight and went to bed by 8:30pm hoping the worst was over saying, “Good night Irene.”

Monday morning, still without power, but the weather was glorious.  Bright sun, 70s, and a whole lotta yard to clean up. We spent six hours raking and picking up twigs. I moved the lawn furniture back, the plants, the hammock. I drove to the next town and picked up lunch. We sat on the deck, exhausted, but amazed. “What hurricane?” my dad joked as the lawn looked better than it had before. The only proof were the callouses on our hands and the stiffness in our bodies. That night we went out for dinner and again were asleep early.

Two days later, the power is still out and the electric company is promising it back by Saturday, but all in all it could have been worse. While the repercussions weren’t as bad as predicted, it wasn’t a complete exercise in futility. We did get a lot of yard work done, house projects completed and shared priceless family time. I came home to enjoy this one last week of summer on Cape Cod and while it’s not what I planned for, I’m not complaining. All week we’re getting sunny and 70s and I can still ride my bike, go for a walk, edit a story or read a book. The truth is, I feel more productive and more rested. It must be the great sleep I’m getting. Thanks Irene.

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