Let the Hurricane Roar


I have an old copy of Rose Wilder Lane’s Let the Hurricane Roar that I found at a vintage shop a few years ago.

I had read it as a middle-schooler, thinking it would be similar to my beloved Little House books, but it was much more somber with the undercurrents of grown-up calamity I didn't quite grasp back then.

There’s not an actual hurricane in the story, but a young couple in the midwest feel as if they’re battered by the storms of prairie life with grasshopper swarms, failed crops and winter snowstorms.

Whatever the season and wherever our location, storms are intimidating and threaten to shake our confidence.


I'd been hearing about Hurricane Irma for a solid week before she even touched down in my home state of Florida.

It seemed from the moment local newscasters reported the storm was headed our way, the store shelves were emptied by residents shellshocked by recent footage of flooding in Texas.

Back at work after Labor Day, I made my usual morning stop at Starbucks inside a SuperTarget and I couldn't figure out why the store was busy so early. Then I noticed that carts were filled with bottled water. Cases of them.

It dawned on me that people were stocking up for the storm so I rushed back to the shelves to grab one for myself, but I was too late. Water was completely gone and the storm was still six days away.

So I picked up a six-pack of bottled iced tea instead.


Throughout the week, I continued my quest for water.

Since it was being snapped up as quickly as stores were stocked, it was a little shocking to see police officers posted to limit shoppers to two cases, but I was always too late and found the pallets empty.

I resorted to just filling every pitcher and travel cup in my house with water and storing it in my refrigerator. I stashed Ziploc bags full of water in my freezer for ice too, in case I needed it.

I picked up whatever edibles I found left on the shelves, which caused me to end up with a curious assortment of foodstuffs to go along with my stash of batteries and flashlights.


I felt lucky to procure a loaf of pumpkin streusel bread apparently overlooked in the grocery store's bakery, since the bread shelves were completely bare. I figured I could make peanut butter sandwiches even if I had no power.

I had four boxes of granola bars, two bottles of Prosecco, and a container of tortellini.

I cooked up the pasta {to eat hot or cold in the coming days} the day before the storm, and my sister and I went out to Cracker Barrel for our last meal the morning before the county curfew was enforced.

My little platter of biscuits, cheese-y scrambled eggs and bacon seemed especially scrumptious.




There's actually not that much to do while you wait for a hurricane to arrive.

Waiting gets tedious fast.

Time practically stands still as the wind picks up speed.

And only prayer can calm the storms of fear.

I drove a few streets over to my sister's to watch the Steeler game but when the satellite kept going out and the rain started pelting her pool, I headed back to my place to hunker down.

{I'm not a fan of this phrase but since it's a favorite of newscasters during hurricane coverage, I heard it more times than I could count over 48 hours}.


I had a stack of books and magazines ready to peruse but belatedly discovered that my two radios with back-up batteries don't actually run on batteries without being plugged in to a power source.

{Am I the only one who didn't know this? I had to Google to find out why.}

So I made sure my battery phone charger was fully charged and settled in front of the TV to monitor the progress of the storm. I thought for sure I'd be relaxed enough to read since, after all, this wasn't my first hurricane.

I was a veteran of three hurricanes in 2004 that frazzled my nerves and left me wandering from room to room during gusty winds, constantly checking on windows and peering outside.

But this time I knew what to expect.


Except hurricanes really do roar.

The wind is very loud. The windows rattle hard. The house shakes a lot.

And during a lull, the frogs eerily croak and sing with more gusto than they do when the weather is pleasant.

Riding out the storm was more unnerving than I'd remembered. Tornado warnings followed one after the other and I clutched my flashlight in case I needed to hole up in my powder room, the only downstairs room in my house without windows.

I barely closed my eyes all night long and counted the hours until the news said the worst would be over.

Finally by mid-morning, the gusts subsided so I could take a look around the neighborhood.


I went outside to find that my neighbor had already cleared the branches and leaves away from my front door.

He told me how he and his wife and kids had spent the entire night in their powder room, not sleeping a wink, listening to the wind roar like a freight train.

Somehow I'd wish I'd known they were as rattled as I was, since it would have been comforting.

I lost a few roof shingles and had a random leaky window, but I never lost power although it flashed off dozens of times during the storm. With most of the city without power, I felt incredibly grateful.

Storms eventually do subside. Calm does return. The sun rises to shine again.


There are some things in life only a storm can show us.

How to be stronger, wiser, braver. And maybe a little more prepared, too.

The battery-powered radio I ordered the day after the storm just arrived yesterday.

I put it on the shelf in my laundry room beside my lanterns, batteries and flashlights.

For the next time a hurricane roars.

*****

{My nephew, who is 13, shot and edited this one-minute video of his dad and our neighbors clearing trees the morning after the storm. My sister has the only speaking role.}

video


I'm joining my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.


Comments

  1. Valerie,
    Despite the scariness of the hurricane description your words and pictures made me feel quite calm. Your words are always calming here. You were brave to weather out the storm yourself. You're gutsy like that.
    So glad you had minimal damage.
    I liked your reassurance that calmness does eventually come after a storm. Even if it is a long storm.
    Love you

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    1. Hi Somer,
      So lovely to see you here! Calm is always something I strive for yet much more rarely achieve so I appreciate your words. Even when we despair of it coming, serenity and tranquility do return -- in nature and in our lives and I'm so glad that it does! xoxo

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  2. What an important, meaningful reflection, Valerie. It feels like the plagues these days with so much weather-related calamities {never mind all the other things going on in our world}. My heart aches for those who are being impacted in FL, TX, the islands, Mexico, the east coast.

    All over the world, I guess.

    Thanks for inviting us into your unsettling week. Your words are going to speak to many hearts. Peace is woven into your reflective words.

    * And I love that you had that Cottage White magazine alongside the necessities.

    ;-}

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    1. Linda,
      The decorating magazines are indeed a necessity! Thank you for being here and sharing my hurricane experience. The storms of our lives remain for a season but there is always a reprieve, if we can wait it out. xo

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  3. Valerie, my family members went through the storm in Palm Beach County - it was scary. I am glad to hear you are well and safe. xo

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    1. Susan,
      How did everything turn out for those in Palm Beach? Hope they didn't sustain much damage! xo

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    2. All was fine...my sister lost a hibiscus bush - BUT her neighbors? Lost a roof. The damage was sporadic and in distances - those storms are nerve-wracking and anxiety-building. Glad we know The Anchor!

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  4. Your wise and wonderful way with words makes even a hurricane fun to read about

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  5. I'm so glad you made it safely through a scary time, Valerie. As always, I love how you tell a story. :) It makes it so easy to visualize it. And tell your nephew I love his video! Blessings and hugs!

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    1. Trudy,
      I'll tell Nate that you appreciated his video - -he was quite proud of it! :) And thank you for always appreciating my life stories -- you are such an encourager, Trudy! xo

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  6. I just received my lanterns and extra dog food for Irma yesterday! Glad to hear you stayed safe! Nathan did a great job on his video! :)

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    1. Brittany,
      Those are high words of praise for Nate, indeed coming from a film industry expert, like you! I'd say we're all set for Irma now that Amazon has fulfilled our orders, right?! haha

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  7. I'm glad you're ok, Valerie- I was praying for you all in Florida. It must have been terrifying to go through that on your own. I relate to the wandering from room to room during high winds constantly checking the windows. There's something about strong winds that makes me anxious, and I haven't even experienced anything like Irma! It's true though that we can learn from the storms, and thanks for the reminder that they do subside eventually.

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    1. Lesley,
      It's easier to reflect on the storms once we're past them but maybe it takes some time for us to appreciate the lessons learned from such a stormy time, don't you think? Thanks so much for your prayers - they were so appreciated! xoxo

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  8. Aww..bless your nephew's heart! He did a great job on the video! I was thinking about you during the storm, sweet friend, and wondering how you were faring. I am SO thankful you are okay and didn't suffer too much damage. My dear sister and family live in Naples. Her house was a direct hit, and she is really having a difficult time. It is SO sad to see all of the devastation...sometimes the aftermath is almost as hard as the storm. May God bless all of you dear ones who are still working on the clean-up. I am praying for you and anxious to hear of the great things I know He has in store for you!! Much love and many hugs to you!!

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Your words are so sweet about my nephew's video! And I'm so sorry to hear about your sister's place -- Naples did get hit hard and I can imagine the clean-up involved after a much stronger storm. Sometimes it takes months to get back to normal so I'll be thinking about them in the weeks ahead! xo

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  9. Dear Valerie,
    I'm so glad to hear how you weathered the storm with God's Grace! (Especially love your beautiful pink candlestick!) Our son & his family had some pretty scary moments also, close to you in Montverde, but thankfully they were only without power for a little over a day. Even after helping with clean-up on the grounds at YWAM, they and their team still managed to leave on time for Thailand today! I can't help but agree with Linda's comments above--there is so much heartache in the world now, and we are gifted to comfort those with the comfort we have received! Thank you for always bringing comfort through your words! Hugs and Blessings to you!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I'm so glad to hear that your son's team left on schedule, especially since flights are just getting back to normal! It must be exciting to have a son heading to Thailand and I know you'll enjoy his adventure through his photos and stories, I'm sure! I love what you say about our experiences being able to comfort others who may go through a similar circumstance. That is so true! xo

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  10. I love this, Valerie - and I love your comparison to the storms in our own lives. Your words always inspire me and bring hope! -Shawna

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    1. Hi Shawna,
      We made it through, didn't we?! It was so nice to see you last Sunday! xoxo

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  11. I had been wondering about you. Glad you are OK!

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  12. I'm happy to hear that Irma left your home and family still standing and calm when it was all over. Through your words I can imagine how nerve rattling it must have been as the wind and rain battered. I've only experienced tornado warning severe weather which generally passes by quite quickly! Your words too, remind me how that through each storm we learn what we still need in preparation for another. I don't think we ever get used to the storms, yet we can continually learn and gather our 'weapons' each time they come.

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    1. Lynn,
      Weather is a good analogy for life -- sunny, stormy, foggy, cloudy -- and maybe getting through it to see what the next day brings is a good practice, don't you think? :) xo

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  13. Glad to read you were safe without much damage. My growing up years were in southern Illinois where tornado season was known as the bathroom season. Thank God we had a big bathroom with no windows. Thanks God we never got hit by one, close but now hit. We lived oversea in Papua New Guinea, where at least 2-3 earthquake happened a week, mostly small ones but bog enough to shake the house. But since it was on stilts it usually just felt like someone walking up our stairs. I think only once there was one strong and long enough to make it outside before it stopped. We now live in southern California where everyone is waiting for the BIG ONE, which I have no doubt will come. People who have never lived where there are tornadoes talk about how scary they are. I just laugh and tell them, why, an earthquake never gives a warning, but for a tornado there is alway time to get to a safe place, warnings going off way before it gets to your house. I will take a tornado anyday instead of an earthquake. AGain, glad you are safe.

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    1. Hi Betty,
      Growing up with tornados must have prepared you for earthquakes later as you moved to New Guinea! I do find earthquakes incredibly scary for the unexpectedness of them and admire you for being able to live normally experiencing several a week overseas. I suppose each area has its drawbacks, doesn't it? Thanks for your good wishes!

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  14. Hi Valerie
    I am so glad you are ok- I read this earlier(checking that you were ok) but wasn’t able to comment till now, but I am glad you didn’t loose power and your damage wasn’t too bad! It sounds very scary- I don’t think I would have slept much that night either. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I was praying for you! Love those lanterns too! and the sunset picture is so calm and beautiful. This is a good reminder that storms end, and by God’s grace, things will settle again! Thanks for this Valerie! Always love visiting your blog! I hope to be able to post soon. xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      Oh I do hope to see you posting again soon, but in the meantime I can imagine (hope) that maybe you are finding the break from blogging an inspiration to create more art?! xo

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  15. Your "Little House on the Prairie" survival skills served you well! Way to be resourceful with the lot you were dealt-- iced tea, pumpkin bread and tortellini! Lol! And what a blessing the power stayed on! We've ridden out a few storms and it can be harrowing until you remember who's in the boat with you... (just was reading about Jesus calming the storm this morning...) So glad all are well and I'm in awe of your nephew's video skills!

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    1. Heather,
      Yes! I did make it through with that motley arrangement of supplies -- and I'm so grateful! Love your thought about remembering who is in the boat with us -- the one who can calm any storm we encounter! xoxo

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