with and without


Phone photos from the rainy coast last Friday.  Otter Rock, February 19, 2021.

The corkscrew willow in our back yard broke into four parts under the weight of the ice.

In front of our neighbor's house after the ice.

Well, the weekend I wrote of last turned much differently than I hoped.  Instead of snow, we got heavy ice and were without power for four days.  Trees came down in our back yard and throughout the city.  It was quite astonishing to drive around the next day and see how many trees and power lines had been brought down around town.  We were fortunate to have sustained only minor damage to our home, and that we were able to keep the edge off the cold with our fireplace.  Many were not so lucky, suffering significant damage, hardship without power and warmth and all that goes along with them ... and some are still without.  

Every morning my husband would get up around 4 and go downstairs to build a fire in the little camp stove in the fireplace down there, where he would warm up water in the teapot to make coffee in the french press.  We had a small charger that could charge several devices at once, so we were able to keep our phones going.  We would recharge everything in the car (a small generator we had failed) when we took outings to assess tree damage around town and see what areas had lights.  Going out in the car was also a way to stay warm for a little while, as was starting the clean-up process.  I spent one whole day gathering tree limbs in our yard and snapping them into equal length pieces, then neatly stacking them.  Therapeutic.  

My favorite part of the whole thing was that the teenager spent all his time with us.   The feeling of family togetherness was everything.

A friend commented that it makes you realize how unprepared you are in times like these, and that is so true.  Several years ago my husband got very into prepping for a disaster, most notably the overdue earthquake predicted for Cascadia.  He amassed dried and canned foods, batteries, flashlights, first-aid kits, water, filtration kits, and wood, among other things.  He made clear that if it struck when he was at work on the west side of Portland that he'd be doing everything he could to get home to us on the east side, but let us know what we could do in the event he couldn't get home for several days, or at all.  After two moves, our stock of things has all but disappeared, but the recent no-power situation has once again put such things at the forefront of his mind and I expect he will be building up our stores again soon.  (Some resources on how to prepare here and here.)

How accustomed we are to being entertained all the time.  After only four days without the distractions of computers and televisions, I saw a change in my son and felt a shift in me.  I'd like to cut my reliance on easy entertainment.  Not forsaking altogether, mind you (I love a good binge and a mindless scroll every now and then), but for the most part cutting out that which is not nourishing in any way.  Always a struggle for me.

Disaster and thoughts of disasters aside, it's been a good two weeks.  A few things that felt nourishing:

This story about treasure and trash.

This beautiful short film about solitude in winter (I would love to do this), which led me to the dreamy photographs and music of Alexandra de Steiguer, found on her website.  

This poem by Major Jackson. 

The moon has looked so big in the sky the last couple of nights.  I'm hoping to catch the full Snow Moon wax tomorrow night into Saturday morning.  Wishing you a lovely weekend ~

by mlekoshi