Part 1: A Hurricane is Coming

“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change and how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be” Elizabeth Lesser 

It’s July 4, 2014, hurricane Arthur is heading towards Nova Scotia.

I love my time alone these days.

This month is my birthday. In recent years I tend to feel reflective throughout my birthday month. I will be 54 this year. I feel so content in my life these days.

I’m up early this morning before the sunrise, as I often am. I am sitting outside on a blanket on the ground. I look up and see the remaining stars with merely a hint of light of the coming dawn. I am listening to the sounds of nature. I hear the little river bubbling as it rushes through the landscape: the refreshing sound stills my body. As the sun sends rays of light from behind the trees, the songbirds sing extra loud just minutes before the sun appears as though to give thanks for the coming day. Finally the sun is peeking through the mist and the treetops in the valley below. The scent in the air is so clean and fresh, unlike any other time of the day. I take a few more deep breaths; my body relaxes into the ground. It’s a perfect time to reflect on my summer so far. My thoughts also reflect through the past year;

I have a part-time job that I love. I am enjoying being in my body more with consistent yoga and qigong practices. I have danced more days this year. I have much to be grateful for. I have spent a lot of time outside this summer. I’ve gathered a lot of wild herbs, created beautiful tinctures, and infused oils. I love making my own herbal medicine, skincare and cleaning products. I no longer have a large garden; instead, I have a couple of raised beds and a hothouse where I grow organic herbs & vegetables.

I come back to the present moment on the ground, I softly sing a mantra, “Be Still and know that I am God, be still and know that I am, Be still and know, Be still, Be” I say a prayer and go in for breakfast. My soul is calm; my spirit is awakened and excited for the day.

However, calm the wind felt early this morning; it’s now late morning; I hear the waves picking up momentum as the hurricane sends out its strength in the ocean ahead of the storm. I can hear them crashing on the shore from my home. The hurricane is coming.

I decide to take a long walk on our dirt road before the many chores that I need to do before the storm comes. The road is beautifully surrounded on both sides by forest. They are full of tall majestic hardwood trees. There are maple, beech, white birch are some of my favorites. There are also aromatic softwood pines, balsam firs and my favorite hackmatack trees. There are magical thorny wild hawthorn (which makes good heart medicine) and rugged long-forgotten wild apple trees which grow unattended. As I walk up and down large hills, I feel significant strength in my legs and body; as my heart pumps quicker, I feel so alive. There is a delicious earthy scent this time of year. It comes from the plants and trees being in their full glory and is carried in the gentle warm wind. As I walk, I talk to the trees. I like to believe that they understand me. I tell them my stories; they are great listeners. They seem to wave a comforting hello with their branches gently swaying with the soft breezes. I chuckle as I become surrounded by a damn horse fly that is biting hard, my walk is cut short. 

As the morning runs into the early afternoon, there is a lot to do to prepare for the coming storm as I make a checklist in my mind. I hurry now to get the housework and yardwork done. Now I must get gas in my vehicle and fill the gas cans for the generator. I’m ready in time as the wind picks up. I snuggle up on the couch and watch TV.

The phone rings, its Bernie my hubby, his voice is so reassuring. He reminds me that we have hurricane-force winds often in the wintertime. He tells me I will be fine; we chat a bit more, then we hang up.

I stay up a little later than usual then decide to go to bed around midnight. Just before dawn, the storm is starting over our home as I hear the roof making loud snapping and cracking noises as the hurricane clips on our roof do their job.

In just a short time, I hear pounding rain and wind. It is howling through the trees. The wind is blowing so hard that the little 7-foot maple tree we planted in our front lawn is almost bent over but is holding. This is unusual; we don’t usually see a hurricane this early in the summer when the trees have all their foliage. Because of this, small sticks and leaves are flying across the yard. I hear a crack in the backyard as an apple tree falls over. Mid-morning, a flash and the power is out. I wait for a couple of hours for things to settle a little before I go out of the shed to start the generator.

It’s mid-afternoon, the rain is still pounding; I decide to make my way to the shed to start the generator. It takes a bit of time, but it’s finally going so I can go back in the house. It’s still pouring buckets of rain, so I run as fast as I can back to the house.

As I am running across the wet lawn, my rubber boots start to slip and slide. I catch myself and keep running onto the patio full out. 

All of a sudden, my feet slip out from underneath me, and I can’t stop myself; OMG, I’m falling forward with the full force of my body slamming onto my knees. The pain is excruciating. I am unaware that one of my knees is permanently injured. My life changed in that instance. The universe has brought me to my knees. Even though I am in the third of my life, some of the most valuable life lessons are yet to come. But this time I don’t surrender and accept “what is” as I had learned to do these past years. This time I get angry and resist hard.

The hurricane has arrived. 

The following year, a perfect storm of several other painful events, including my brother’s death, together became the catalyst that sent me into a depression. It was after the Hurricane that another journey began, one that taught me some of the most important lessons I had not embraced before. One that was huge for me was embracing vulnerability. Part 2 “After the Hurricane”” will be posted soon

Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living” Rachel Marie Martin

Hurricane Arthur

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