Mother Nature has a profound way of keeping us humble.
Last week’s ice storm was proof of her infinite power to remind us that there are bigger forces at play in our lives.
I like to be reminded. I need to be reminded.
When the lights go out, our senses are heightened. There is a thrill in the unsettling sense evoked in the first few minutes when everything goes black. Sure, it’s temporary, but most good things in life are, which makes them special. While everyone in my house scrambled to locate the candles and the emergency flashlights, I went to the window and looked at the desolate view of my neighbourhood. It was eerie. It’s hard to grasp that the world was once complete and utter darkness every night, everywhere. I would make a lousy pioneer.
Case in point: my first thought was to grab my mobile phone and laptop and get to work. It’s my job to be in the know, just like it is for the reporters of this newspaper you hold in your hands. When the news is so important in our community, we can’t ignore it. You count on us.
I was awake well into the night on social media, tracking the storm, hydro outages, the updates from emergency services. Thank goodness for mobile Internet hotspots. At one point, I used the Carpenter’s truck to juice up my mobile phone. I called it dedication; he called it ridiculous.
But this is why I do it. In times of darkness, our little towns in Wellington County shine. Neighbours help neighbours. Farmers help farmers. We see the incredible value of our volunteer firefighters, Wellington County OPP officers and first responders. We see the road crews and the township staff in all corners of the county, each pulling together in a coordinated effort, knowing the height of the storm is only the beginning of days of clean up ahead.
And no matter how long your power was out this Easter weekend, credit goes to the hydro crews who were out in the weather we purposely avoided, with the pressure of thousands of families relying on them to get their homes back online. Sure, all of these folks are paid well by our tax dollars and utility bills to do these tasks, but who could argue their value? Not me.
As the beautiful trees on my street began to snap under the weight of Mother Nature’s icy breath, we hunkered down for a long night that turned into a long weekend for many who went days without hydro and water. The sound of chainsaws in the days that followed was the sound of resilience. The hot sun melted the ice. Blue skies ahead. Take that Mother Nature. Well, she took it all right. A few days later she threw down rain and stirred it up with high winds just to be sure we didn’t forget who was in charge.
Humility is good. The ice storm reminded me that life changes in an instant. Everything we take for granted is temporary. Storms will rage. Things will break. Messes get cleaned up. Things grow back. The sun will shine again.
And in the flux, it’s not what we have in our lives, but whom we have that matters. We rely on each other. That’s what community does.
For that, I’m grateful.