Whidbey Island was hit by a wind storm last night. The entire West Coast was hit by storms. The storm that hit the Seattle area knocked out power to over 150,000 people. My power is still out, which is why I worked from Langley’s co-works office, which is why I got to hear lots of stories. Trees uprooted, roads blocked, roofs leaking, fences falling, and instead of complaining the common theme was that things worked out well. If coping involves turning lemons into lemonade, then we can write a cookbook of lemonade recipes.
We hear about gusts to 45 frequently, but the only areas that get that are out on the coast, along the Straits, in the Gorge, and in the mountains. The forecast was for gusts to 75 mph. That was storm 3 in three days. At one point the National Weather Service issued 14 bulletins for the area. First there was rain, then wind, then wind and rain coinciding with high tides, then ground saturated from the rain weakening the trees hold on soil, and soil’s hold on soil. The storms are past but the landslide danger continues. I even think I felt a rumble the other night, but won’t be able to check that slope until there’s a low tide in the daytime, probably in the spring.
On my pre-dawn drive into work today the branches on the road were so thick that I had a hard time seeing the pavement. I didn’t notice the road closed cones until after I’d driven over a powerline and was stopped by a tree that blocked the road from ditch to ditch. I lost track of the down trees that protruded onto the road, and was impressed with the work of the road crews who had chopped just enough to create a series of one lane gaps. (Someone get those people reflective gloves to go with the reflective vests. It was hard to tell whether they were waving me through or back.)
The commute took two or three times as long as usual.
As I got to the office, I was happy for two reasons: 1) the power was on, 2) I could have any parking space I wanted. As I tidied up my first parking attempt after missing the white line, another pickup drove up. Out came the crew from The Braeburn, the restaurant downstairs. Of course a forest of trees on the road and a web of wires would be a great excuse to stay home, but it was also a good reason for a walk through the woods before dawn, to be picked up by another member of the crew, to meet another member of the crew. I had a breakfast with me, but had to order a side of bacon to celebrate our commuting accomplishments.
People deride Facebook, but as usual, it turned into a communal information exchange. Who has power? What are the road conditions? Does anyone need help? What stories do people have to tell?
- Lemons: The chicken coop blew over. Lemonade: The coop was strong enough that it just needs to be tipped up. The chickens are fine. (Imagine that, things with feathers doing fine in the wind.)
- Lemons: A tree smashed through a roof. Lemonade: The roof was the carport, not the house; and the car wasn’t in the carport; and the owner wasn’t in the car – but probably would’ve been if not delayed by a meeting.
- Lemons: The power is out with no estimate of when it will be fixed. Lemonade: Finally an excuse to ignore the electronics and spend time with friends, wine, games, candles, books, and wine.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iR8nso60cQ
- Lemons: I lost about a third of my fence. Lemonade: It fell away from the propane tank and the fruit trees; and one section just needs to be tilted back up and cemented in place, and my other repair job from last season actually survived. (Lemonade for the deer: Easy access to Tom’s garden – for a while.)
Last night I was going to teach a class on Modern Self-Publishing. The winds were already rising, but wouldn’t hit their main strength until about two-thirds of the way through the class. As I got to the door, I found it locked. Miscommunications happen. I waited outside in case any students showed up. Island time is a notion that includes not committing to an event, and showing up hoping there will be enough room. I waited a while, but no one showed. As a result, I got home about three hours early. Today, circular apologies were made for miscommunications, and I just laughed. Yes, it would’ve been nice to teach to a packed room, but that didn’t happen. Considering the weather though, it all worked out for the best. If the class happened according to schedule, we would’ve had to quit because the power was out before the scheduled end. By getting home when I did, I had a clear drive home, was able to fill the gas tank, take a walk (very blustery down at the beach with salt spray coating my face), take a shower, make a drink, make some popcorn, and watch part of a show. When the power went out I reached for a book and a second cocktail, and then slid onto the futon to sleep. I was glad class hadn’t happened.
Someone was nice enough to ask about my situation and my skill set today. After a quick summary, I told them about the class. I teach because I am passionate about people and ideas, but also because I need the money. He took that aspect and my story about being glad class was cancelled and inspired this blog by saying I was good at making lemonade.
I am impressed with how well so many of us are at doing the same thing. The people who have less appreciate what they have that much more. You lose power, you’re grateful for candles. You lose a carport, you’re grateful you didn’t lose the car. You lose the coop, you’re grateful you didn’t lose the chickens.
The Great Recession means many people lost money. Climate change means many people are missing familiar environments. Social unrest means people are aware of what they could lose.
People are more likely to be frugal from respect. Fragile environments are recognized for their ephemeral nature. Compassion is appreciated.
Whidbey got windy and people made lemonade, but Whidbey is not the only place that happens. The world is full of lemonade stands. Drink up.