About 5 miles from home, my cell phone rang. It was Mark. He too was driving home, but from another direction, and near our home the storm was raging. He didn’t want to take the girls home and wondered if we could meet somewhere for dinner.
We have a lovely wooded lot speckled with ancient, towering ash trees. In the seven years we’ve lived there, six have fallen in large storms and seven more were removed by a tree expert because they were decaying from the inside out.
On a beautiful, sunny day, our yard is a little sliver of paradise, but when the rain teems and the wind whips, the leafed sentries that surround our little ranch house feel more threatening than peaceful and we’ve sat through many storms pacing the halls while large branches whack against the windows and roof.
So we met at a restaurant in town and ate a not-very-relaxing and not-very-enjoyable dinner, but at least we felt safe.
Driving the few miles back to our house, we encountered streets littered with branches and bark and we returned to a house without power. Daylight was in its last throes, so Mark quickly built a fire while I lighted a few candles, and we all curled up on the couches and watched the flames flicker in the fireplace. I stroked Peanut’s hair with one hand and rubbed Loaf’s back with the other. We sat like that until the outside was as dark as the inside and the girls’ tiny eyelids began to flutter and then finally, close completely.
The house was incredibly still – the only sound came from the crackle of the fire and an occasional sigh from one of the girls. Even the cats were silent.
They say there is a calm before the storm, but as it turns out, there is one after it too.