I think maybe the people in my family shouldn’t pray about the weather anymore. It’s just a little too, well, effective. For example, do you remember that winter a few years back where we got 22″ (or was it 24″) of snow dumped on us right before Christmas? Yeah, that was because my little sister AnniPotts prayed for a white Christmas. And then there’s the events of this past weekend.
See, I wanted good weather for my party. Last year we had a great party, but it rained, so we couldn’t put out the dance floor and nobody danced. I really, really wanted to dance. So for weeks ahead of time I was telling everyone I knew to pray for good weather for my party, even those whom I know don’t pray. I was praying pretty hard myself, but things looked bleak. There was this, you know, hurricane down in the Gulf, and everyone was forecasting overcast skies and scattered showers with the possibility of thunderstorms. But I was praying, and doing my best to have faith that God would hook me up.
And he did. The day dawned cloudy, but pretty soon a strong breeze started sweeping the clouds away. It stayed dry and fine (though muggy) all day. When evening fell you could even still see the moon and stars dimly through the haze. It was the perfect evening for my party, and I got to dance outside under the stars, with the tiki torches keeping the bugs away and the candle lanterns hanging in the trees making it look like something from a fairy tale. Seriously, it was a great party. Besides the dancing in the back yard we had beer brats on the grill, a 1/6 barrel of Great Lakes Eliot Ness on the back deck, people doing Car Bombs in the kitchen, games in the dining room, the OSU game on in the living room, and conversation on the front porch. I kicked the last guests out around 3am, and went to bed happy.
Then came yesterday afternoon. I had been hanging out with Johnsy finishing off Season Two of Veronica Mars while she used my laptop to research bioengineering jobs and I knit some more on my new dance shoe bag (I spit-spliced for the first time – it was kindof awesome). Only my laptop kept giving off random rumbles of thunder, the noise my National Weather Channel desktop widget makes when it wants me to pay attention to some sort of bad weather coming alert. Meanwhile outside it was getting pretty gray, and the wind was whipping the trees around in a rather alarming way. I checked out the alert, which said that we were going to have a wind storm with huge gusts of wind from then until about 6pm. I looked outside. The ground was quickly becoming covered with twigs and leaves torn from the mature trees that cover my neighborhood, but so far it didn’t look too bad. Then Johnsy asked me to take her to the gym before I headed off to Practice Session. That was the scary part. As we got a little further away from the house, things started to look like a war zone. All the stop lights were out at Wilmington and Wayne. Big branches were coming down, and the wind was still going. You could feel it rocking the car from side to side. I dropped Johnsy off at the RecPlex and tried to come home another way. The traffic on Brown Street was insane. I started to wonder if I was ever going to get home. Finally I made it, having to nose my way through four lanes of traffic on Wayne/Wilmington and pray that no one hit me. Once I got there I didn’t want to leave again. It was too scary. Every time I looked out the front door there were more branches down, one large one now covering the yard across the street, and then branches cracking off the tree in our front yard. There was no rain, no other storm stuff, just this wild wind.
As night fell the wind abated, and we started to hear about what had been happening all over town. Traffic lights were almost universally not operating. Wide swaths of the city were without power, including our across the street neighbors. We were lucky enough to still have electricity. My co-worker who lives across the street brought her cell phone over to charge. Johnsy’s friend emptied his freezer and brought his stuff over to stash in our freezer. I have to admit I wasn’t as concerned about this stuff as I could have been. That Guy came over to help get rid of whatever was leftover from the keg (he had heard the stories about last year’s 2/3 full keg and had pity on me), so I was busy drinking with him. The best part about drinking with friends isn’t the drinking, it’s the talking about everything under the sun. I have to say That Guy is becoming one of my favorite conversation partners.
This morning I got up and tried to go to work. It was surreal driving through the neighborhood. Thing would look normal, and then suddenly you’d see an entire tree (and a big one, too) totally uprooted and now lieing against the front of a house. One of the streets I take to work was closed off with caution tape, behind which you could see a tree completely blocking the road. None of the traffic lights were working, but everyone was being excessively courteous to one another – sortof like, “Oh, you go first.” “Oh, no, you go first! Please, I insist.” When I got to work, everything was dark and closed down. I couldn’t get in the front door. There were no cars in the parking lot. I think the power must have been out, and since I’m only a student employee I’m not on the notification list.
So here I am at home, kindof puttering around. I have laundry to do and a little more cleanup from the party. It feels odd for things to be so normal. The neighbors across the street are still without power, and I can constantly hear sirens wailing past in the distance. It creates a sense that somewhere out there people are in danger, crisis is happening, but I’m just here at home doing laundry. Johnsy took the opportunity this morning to go up and down the street meeting people and making sure they’re ok. She left notes on doors offering them room to store frozen stuff in our big chest freezer in the garage. One neighbor just knocked on the door taking us up on the offer. So we’re doing what we can to help.
In other news I’m speaking at Theology On Tap on Thursday. I don’t know whether to be excited or terrified. Mostly I’m both at once. Well, more terrified. Regardless, you should come see me: Thursday night at the Oregon Express, 7:30pm.