My Letter to Mother Nature

I’m not sure when I lost my sense of humor over this year’s weather. Was it after the June 1st tornado that left us without power for 2 days right before we boarded a plane for Florida? Was it during the July 26th microburst that left us without power for another two days? By the time Satruday’s unusually early snowstorm hit Western Mass, I had my fill of extreme weather.
 
With 10 inches of snow, downed power lines and fallen trees, we’ve already been without electricity for over 36 hours, and National Grid is saying it will be 3 more days before electricity is restored. I’m sitting at my in-laws’ house in a neighboring community–which was also hard hit, and yet, has power. The front yard is littered with broken branches. A medium-size tree crashed through the roof of their shed. I feel like drafting a letter to Mother Nature:
 
Dear Mother Nature,
 
Thank you for your most recent gift of an early snowstorm. The lack of electricity and heat are greatly appreciated. The blessing of snow-covered tree limbs, some of which were hanging in the middle of my driveway and front yard this morning, looked so lovely as I struggled to shake the wet globs of white off them so I could make it into the garage. I especially enjoyed that branch that swiped my upper lip.
 
I’m sure you were merely thinking of how much I was bemoaning my lack of exercise lately. Using the hand saw and hauling five trees into the woods certainly gave me that much needed workout.
 
While Western Massachusetts has certainly appreciated your generosity this year, perhaps other parts of the country are feeling a bit lonely.  We don’t mind sharing your gifts.
 
Fondly,
 
Cheryl 

Counting Our Blessings

This wasn’t the post I planned for our first day back from vacation, but there are times when you see something that touches you and you must collect your thoughts on it.

On Wednesday, June 1st, Western Massachusetts was hit by severe storms that included thunder and lightning, rain, hail, and several tornado touch downs. We lost power for two days, and we spent the night before flying out to Disney at my in-laws’ house, whose community was amazingly untouched by the tornadoes that led Governor Deval Patrick to declare a State of Emergency. It wasn’t a great start to our vacation, but it was more of an annoyance for us than to the many people throughout Western Massachusetts who still have not been able to return to their homes.

That night, I found myself dismally unprepared for such an unexpected event. My husband called from his office to say he could see the funnel from his window. Within minutes, we had lost electricity at the house and I scrambled to find batteries to work even one of our radios. I started bottling water and prayed.

As the girls and I listened to updated reports on a radio that literally fit in the palm of my hand, I could only imagine what it looked like out there beyond the view from my house. I heard of roofs being torn off buildings, people trapped in cars, and some being forced to seek shelter when they couldn’t get home. We had no electricity, no phone, and cell phone service was so sporadic that for a span of several hours, we were totally cut off from the outside world. In between this mess, my husband thankfully made it home safely.

When all was said and done, four people died and dozens were injured. On the drive home from the airport yesterday, we had a chance to view some of the damage from last week’s tornadoes. It left me speechless. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed. Once familiar landscapes have been forever changed. Thousands of majestic trees have been uprooted and many that remain had their tops sheered right off.

Our local schools, utility companies, police and fire personnel, and numerous volunteers are working together to clean up from this horrific event that caused home owners to file insurance claims totalling $90 million, according to this Boston Herald article.

I hope you’ll keep everyone affected by the recent storms in your thoughts and prayers. Right now we’re definitely counting our blessings.