Hurricane Irene is plowing up the eastern seaboard and headed right for us here in southern New Jersey. We’ve stock-piled plenty of water, batteries, flashlights, an oil lamp, fruit, bread, canned salmon and tuna – not to mention a large bag of cat food and litter. I’m making sure all our digital devices have full batteries tonight, and am even keeping a bag semi-packed in case a hasty retreat is necessary.
The yard is as secure as we could make it. All the sweet birdhouses in the wildflower garden have been taken down and stored in the shed. It’s a good thing the house wren had been the only summer inhabitant. He’s been gone these past few weeks so all of them were empty.
Where do the birds go when the hurricanes come?
What will happen to my bunnies, and squirrels, and chipmunks that we watch every morning?
And, what of my woodchuck! He of my Simple Pleasure post this week! Will I ever see him again?
You see, some twenty years ago, I lived in Charleston, South Carolina – ground zero for Hurricane Hugo. That was a category four storm – 156 mile an hour winds – spawning tornadoes – you do a storm like that once – never again. Up until that day, I had large red headed woodpeckers eating from my feeder just out the kitchen window – my delight to watch them every day, along with the jays, and sparrows, and cardinals, and finches.
After Hugo – the smaller birds returned – but never saw the woodpecker again. I lived there for four years.
Hugo arrived just six months after we’d moved into our new construction home in a nice new development called, Canterbury Woods. We renamed it, Canterbury Sticks, post Hugo.
My husband at the time was the engineer on a submarine that was being worked on. It was strapped to the dock while all the other ships were sent to deep water. He was able to be home with me and the kids – toddlers at the time. A family with three children were staying with us – they lived a mile from the shoreline – we were 15 miles inland.
I was overwhelmed with fear! It was like a great claw hand had a grip on my shoulder and was shaking me uncontrollably. Trembling, I would run to my bedroom and bath and gag from my nauseous stomach, the fear had so consumed me. I had to pull myself together – I was the grown-up and had to be able to look after my children. They were happily playing with their friends – not a care in the world. I was melting down.
The sky was dark and the rain barely beginning that afternoon. Within hours, the landscape of my neighborhood and town would be radically changed. In my room, I shook with fear and cried out to God to calm the storm in my heart and mind.
Then – it happened – a vision! The Lord gave me a vision! I saw my house as though looking down upon the roof. On the roof, sitting straddled and facing each other, were two HUGE angels! They were laughing and talking and the winds were blowing – but they paid it no mind. Trees would fall towards the house, but they just brushed them away with their arms and continued laughing and chatting.
The Lord spoke very clearly to my spirit:
There was a flood. A flood of PEACE that surged through me. The shaking and trembling stopped. I was calm and at rest. I rejoined the adults in the family room and weathered the storm. We put the children to bed in their rooms while we listened to the horrible roar outside, feeling safe within.
In the morning, when we rolled out of bed and into the street, the shock and awe of the devastation was astounding. A pine tree went through the neighbor’s house, diagonally across the street from us, like a missile. Two doors down, a tree fell through a house, cutting it in two. Roofs ripped off, trees down so that it was impossible to drive on the street. It was an overwhelming sight of destruction.
Not a soul was injured – but, such frightful stories they told of how they passed the night.
And, our house? We lost nine trees. They all fell AROUND THE HOUSE in a circle – not a one touching the house – as though brushed aside by an unseen hand. Oh, there was a small branch that took out $35.00 worth of shingles from the corner of the garage. My neighbors didn’t have any shingles left at all.
Miraculous! The Hand of God – faithful to keep!
So, where is my “hurricane pink” today? Well . . . here . . . a last look at my pretty pinks in the wildflower garden. I expect it will be rather windblown by the weekend’s end.
And . . . here . . . the sky last night after a deluge that flooded the streets. The camera doesn’t do it justice.
Today was a lovely, sunny, warm day – just the thing for gathering supplies and putting all things in order. Doing what we know to do, to the best of our ability. Trusting God to make up the rest.
The worst of it will be hitting us by tomorrow night and through into Sunday morning. It is slow moving, so long hours of sustained category one winds will be very damaging. I expect we’ll lose power. Don’t know when that will come back. And, every time we lose power, I lose my internet and have to call Verizon to have them reconfigure FIOS from their computer so my modem will work again. I expect they’ll be busy – don’t know when I’ll be back online and in the blogging saddle again.
After hitting us, Irene will continue up the coast and be buffeting my son, daughter-in-law, and baby Mackenzie up in New England – on Mackenzie’s birthday, too!!! What a way to celebrate!
Prayer for protection of life and property is appreciated. Miss you all – but hope to be back with you by mid-week! Good is good – all the time. All the time – God is good . . .