The afternoon was filled with fun and frivolity: A great time at our friend’s pool followed by some frozen yogurt and laughs. We made our way home as the sky clouded over thinking “Just in time!” and admiring the cloud formations in the distance while singing old songs to the car radio.
Approaching our neck of the woods we could see that the clouds were uniquely nefarious looking. And we were heading straight for them. Concern crossed my brow. 5 minutes from home my concern solidified with the emergency broadcast sounding an alarm. Trees beginning to swirl and dance on the side of the road emphasized the announcement: “Thunderstorm warning; 65 mile-per-hour winds and heavy downpours” it said. Just two miles from home….”expect high winds”….just one mile…”and tree breakage”…just around the bend…”take cover in an interior room”…open garage door!!!! Safe, yet I think there is time to take the laundry off the line. Two teens and myself run to the clothes line to take down the still-dry laundry. My husband is in the kitchen door watching in wonder I’m sure. I yell “Get your car IN THE GARAGE!” The wind is crazy and parts of trees and debris start blowing. The laundry is twisting ‘round almost in knots and hard to manage. We are working fast and furious then,
C-R-A-C-K! Instinct makes me grab my closest child away from the tree we are near. I thought it was losing a large branch but it was the tree on the other side of it. SLAM! The tree has just fallen over onto the house! LEAVE THE PINS, JUST PULL!! We yanked the last of the clothes off the line and ran for the kitchen door. Whew! Instincts and adrenaline are at their peak and my mind focuses. Flashlights and lanterns come out of storage. Windows are thrown shut. “Batten down the hatches!” I yell as we all go through the house to keep the storm outside and mitigate potential damages. The cat. Where is the cat? OH NO! WHERE IS THE CAT?!
Storm raging outside and our rescue cat with three legs in the midst of it. I hope he found shelter. I hope he’s ok. Maybe he’s just outside the door needing to be rescued. Outside again, the storm in a tizzy around me, I call for our cat: “Chester! Kitty, kitty, kitty!” I’m yelling but I can’t even hear myself. Stepping outside I’m getting soaked and the debris flying around is sticking to my wet skin. I can’t stay out or I’ll get hurt. I step back inside and hope for the best.
A mere 20 minutes (and a lifetime later) and the storm has passed. Blue skies reappear and the sun peaks out, bright and smiling. It is surreal. The brightness shines on the debris strewn across the yard. We walk outside to survey the damage. Oh. My. Gosh. Tree limbs everywhere. I can’t see the grass for all of the leaves covering it. The tree is propped precariously on the corner of the house, bending the straight lines that used to be the roof there. Toys thrown about. Leaves and branches across the porch and walkway. But look, the trampoline hasn’t moved. And the pots on the potting table remain upright. How crazy is that? The window sign I had under the tree out front is knocked over, but not broken. As we walked through the property noticing all of the damage and oddities, I wonder quietly, “The cat. Where is the cat?” I had not heard his cry even once. I was afraid he had tried to find shelter somewhere and luck was not with him. I’m staring at my butterfly garden, untouched by the storm but for the décor blown off the wall behind it, and something in the distance catches my eye. A shadow. A squeaky shadow? Nope, that’s our cat! He comes running in leaps and bounds towards us as if to say “IT’S ME! I’m OK, but that was scary! Hold me!” and presses the length of himself against my daughter’s leg. She picks him up and gives him a snuggle. What a day!