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Saturday, February 06, 2010


The wind is howling. I’ve heard that expression before but I’ve never quite heard it like this. It’s as if there were some invisible, angry, wounded animal somewhere out in the midst of the swirling white smog of wind and snow and sleet.

It’s a blizzard, a bona fide Nor’easter the likes of which no one around here ever remembers seeing.

The electricity went out around 3:30 AM. I woke up around 4:30, feeling a bit of a chill. When I looked at the clock something didn’t seem right, so I tried to turn on the light. That’s when I knew.

The realization of no electricity and no heat shook me hard and woke me out of that kind of early-morning quasi-sleep that promises, if you close your eyes and snuggle back down and think lovely thoughts, you can go back to sleep.

Wasn’t gonna happen. I jumped out of bed to check the water level in the Bay. That’s when I heard the first howl. Actually, it was more like a low moan – as if someone had been injured and was lying on the deck outside my window.

“UuuUUUuuuuhhhhhhh . . . . .OooooOOOOooooohhhhh”

Then came the thunder. Then, the lightening. How was it that I had slept through this?

I put on my silk long johns under my corduroy brown pants, two pairs of socks and my slippers, a white turtle neck, a gray sweater and then bulky knit sweater over it all and headed for the kitchen. Thermostat inside said 54 degrees. Outside – 36 degrees.

No coffee this morning (note to self: Get a small, French, drip coffee press next time you’re at Bed, Bath and Beyond to keep here), but a hot mug of tea would suffice nicely. I warmed up a blueberry muffin in the oven till it was piping hot and delighted to watch the smoke rise from the inside of the muffin as the butter melted.

Thank God for the gas stove in the kitchen and on the deck. At least I have a few sources of heat. I turned them both on, closed the doors to all the bedrooms, went out to the deck with my tea steaming happily in my mug and started to say Morning Prayer.

I didn’t use the iBCP on my iPhone as that seemed like a pretty silly waste of the battery – especially since I have a few BCPs lying around the cottage. I confess I was distracted in prayer by the cold and watching the Bay water rise steadily in cold, angry slaps against the railroad ties in the front yard.

I can only see out of two windows – the ones facing South. The widows to the North and East are completely covered by snow. The deck, which faces North, is completely snowed in, with a three foot drift blocking the glass door and insuring that, at least for now, no one will go out or get in without at least 10 minutes work with a shovel.

Around 9:15 AM my neighbor, Larry, knocked on the door. “You okay in there?” he asked from behind his black hooded face cap, resplendent in his burnt orange jump suit. Larry is a locksmith and a peach of a guy. Always checks in on us during a storm. Came with 5 gallons of water during "Ernesto" a few years back. If you look up the term "good neighbor" in the pictorial dictionary, Larry's picture is there.

Around 10:15, I got all bundled up, my "loose gravel" shovel and broom in hand, ready to shovel out the car. I had forgotten my boots back in NJ, so I put on three socks and Ms. Conroy's boots and then covered them with plastic bags.

It worked pretty well until the first wind blast hit about the time my foot went into a deep drift. The wind literally blew me over onto my side. When I tried to get up, the snow sucked my foot out of the plastic-bag-wrapped sneaker and left my foot in the snow.

It was a rather inelegant moment. I was glad I didn't know if anyone was watching me from their window. I must have been quite a sight.

I managed to get all the snow dusted off Lucy True Bug's body and rag top and removed it all from the windshield and wipers. I shoveled out the tires and the sides of the car. Now I have to shovel myself out of the parking lot and through the mound the snow plow has created a few feet from the back of my car.

Larry said his daughter and he would help me. I'm going to need it. There's a lull right now in the snow, but it's still blowing hard. The snow is expected to return later this afternoon, bringing another couple of inches before it ends around 1 AM.

The electricity came back on around 12:30 - THANKS BE TO GOD!!!!! - as did the heat. It's now a toasty 70 degrees in here. Cable and WiFi are back. I fixed myself some eggs and toasted an English muffin for lunch.

Life is good with the basics.

Of course, there's still a state of emergency declared in Delaware. All the major roads are closed to "non-essential vehicles". As much as I adore Lucy True Bug, I think she qualifies for that undignified status. I won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

It's okay. I'm safe - and now warm. I've got food and drink (including bourbon) to last me a week, if I need it. I've got great neighbors and good health, along with family and friends to pray for me and keep track of me.

There's nothing quite like a major event like a blizzard, hurricane or earthquake, to help you get your priorities in order.

I think there's something in the howling of the wind that calls that out of us. And you know, that's not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.


Ann said...

Love the beach in storm. The wild God at work and play. Stay safe.

Brian R said...

So glad you are safe and now warm again. It sounds horrendous yet here am I rejoicing in moving (in different city, different country) to a house where the road was blocked for 3 days last year with snow and ice. Much better than my previous house where each summer we watched for bushfires as the north wester blew with 40'C heat. Perhaps I will have a different view after a few winters.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Love a good storm. Blizzard? Not so much. Just glad I have electricity, WiFi and HEAT!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The weather advisory says more snow until 1 AM. I'm just glad to be safe and warm inside. I'll worry about getting back to Jersey later.

Ann said...

Blizzards are for staying indoors. Drove through a ground blizzard white out on my way home from church last Sunday -- not good.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I drove in a really bad snow storm right after Christmas. No fun.

Muthah+ said...

Hope someone is covering St. Paul's for tomorrow. Snow prayers ascend.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Blessed Jon is there. We are fortunate.

David@Montreal said...

Relieved to have news of you.

I literally woke with you, Margaret and Joel on my heart.

That weather sounds postively Canadian!

Take care, dear Elizabeth. No silly risks. Ms. Lucy is a bit of a lightweight.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

David - I'm so blessed to have Jon there at church, so I don't have to worry about going back. Even so, if Jon weren't there, someone would have to lead Morning Prayer. As they used to say in Newark: "Ain't no one monkey stop the show."

Ann said...

Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold, *
drops of dew and flakes of snow

Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Elizabeth, I'm glad that you have your heat back, luv. I was worried about you there for a spell.

Bruce said...

I grew up on the shores of Lake Superior--actually the north one; so I can reckon with the howling noise. There's a certain delight and freedom in baying at the moon. Arggggggggggggggggggggghhh!

whiteycat said...

Glad to hear that you are safe and sound!

susankay said...

Elizabeth -- so glad that you are back on line because that means you have power. We in southwest Colorado were without it for 2 days a year ago -- much stoking of wood stove and no pump for water to the loo. I decided I was not interested in being an earth mother.

And many years ago ('76?) in Massachusetts when they basically closed the eastern half of the state -- and drifts were up over my third floor window.

Be well and be warm -- and prayers for those who have not that option. We were heading to dinner with friends tonight when we passed a guy with a shopping cart who was setting up camp on the side of the highway -- a blizzard is heading in and he was 25 miles from a town. We didn't have the guts to stop and intercede but we did call in the county sheriff who said they would go find him. Pray for him. And forgive me for not stopping.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I've been off line for a coupla hours. Internet service was down for a while. I find using iPhone for my blog a fairly tedious experience.

Thanks for your concern, Mimi. I'm up and running now.

Bruce - this is sooOOOoo unusual for the Delmarva Peninsula. No one can ever remember anything like this.

TY Whiteycat.

Susankay - You did the same thing as the Good Samaritan. No forgiveness needed.

Two Auntees said...

Prayers that you stay warm and safe.

Paul said...

Prayers for you and all battered by the storm, especially those in real danger. Thanks for staying in touch with us all.

Wade said...

Hope this morning finds you safe and well. You did remember to fill the bathtub with bread and milk I hope? (You ARE a Mainiac right?)

Doorman-Priest said...

But is it going East or West? Do I have to get out the big coat again?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks again, y'all for all your prayers. I did get up around 3:30 to check the water level during high tide. It certainly wasn't as bad as it had been earlier, and that wasn't so bad. Whew!

The forecast is calling for another snow, hitting the Mid Atlantic states again and then making its way up the Eastern Seaboard.

Get out that coat, DP. And boots. Don't forget the boots.