Return from Big Darkness

BOOM BOOM, out go the lights.

My “light blogging” hiatus was inadvertently well-planned:  starting in the wee small hours of Thursday night/Friday morning, Vancouver Island sustained an extended flogging by a storm of such furious magnitude that hydro, phone lines and of course, the internets were knocked out for days.

It was savage and stunning and seemingly endless, though in Real Time the storm only went on for about 12 uninterrupted hours.  But that seems like an awfully long time when you’re peering up through a skylight watching normally sedate giant firs jerk and strain and sway as the wind tears at their boughs.   Massive branches were ripped from convulsing trees and hurled around like kindling.  Hydro wires twitched and strained and snapped and transformers exploded in sparkly cascades of blue and white,  even as they were lashed by torrents of rain that seemed to be falling sideways.  The crashing surf tossed some boats ashore like driftwood and sunk others.  It was a heavy scene:  kind of an “End Times” riff, but without the fundies soaring heavenward.

No biggie, I have lots of candles and a wood stove.  Power was for the most part restored by Saturday night, the internets were up and running intermittently yesterday, and I’m happy to report that no trees fell on my house, or my vehicle, or me.  But not everyone was so lucky: Imagine waking up to that cruel scenario.  It does happen occasionally: once I emerged from the house to find my driveway blocked by two(2) fallen trees.  First there’s the initial dumb shock of seeing big trees in places where they aren’t supposed to be, similar to what it must be like to hear your dog ask for its dinner in perfect, BBC-accented English.  The next response is giddy relief that nothing was sitting in the path of destruction.  (Then “Wheee!  No work today.”)

Apart from a few unfortunate houses, cars and boats, most of the damage was more like this:

Boom Boom.

But once in awhile it’s not a bad thing to be completely isolated without any means of communication but word of panicked mouth — the old survival instinct kicks in and everyone gets a little friendlier.  The clean-up means major bonfires all week long with appropriately-supersized beers.  And since I have no idea what’s been happening in the world outside this neighbourhood for the last few days, I wouldn’t be surprised if my blood pressure has dropped to a more acceptable level.  Maybe that’s the silver lining in Friday’s storm-ravaged cloud.

15 Responses to “Return from Big Darkness”

  1. 1 Reality.Bites Monday, April 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, trees, houses, I get it. But what about the important stuff – how did the animals react to the storm? 😉

  2. 2 Rob F Monday, April 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    On the mainland, there was the first power outage where I live in over two years.

  3. 3 ellroon Monday, April 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I have to confess I love storms like that… as long as nothing falls on the house or the cars or the kids.

    Glad you are safe, JJ.

  4. 4 Bene D Monday, April 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Welcome back while you coped with wind and rain and stay coping with fire, we have a fire ban. Haven’t seen one this early.

    It is good to be unwired an unconnected for awhile isn’t it?

    Do tell. How did the kittehs handle the storm?

  5. 5 Torontonian Monday, April 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    It’s good to know you’re well and safe. Here’s hoping the
    cats and dog are well also.

    Nothing like a storm to bring out our inner strengths.

    All you’d need would be a good Scrabble companion
    and a large supply of quality wine. And batteries
    for the radio and flashlight.

  6. 6 Dr. Prole Monday, April 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Surprisingly we didn’t lose power at my place. Usually a light breeze does the trick but we made it though this whopper without any outages.

  7. 7 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 8:59 am

    RB – The animals took it all in stride. The cats got a little antsy at the crashing noises coming from the roof, but otherwise all was calm. The dog was outside during the worst of the storm, hunkered down in her dog house, and when I came out to take her inside, she wasn’t even that thrilled about the idea.

  8. 8 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Rob F – Even on the mainland there were power outages?? Wow. We’re used to outages over here, but in Vancouver it’s not something that happens a lot. I lived there for 8 years and I can’t remember the power going out even once in all that time. Here it’s a given that power will go out a few times during the winter… usually not at this time of the year, though.

  9. 9 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:08 am

    ellroon – In a way I like big violent storms, they’re quite awe-inspiring. I don’t even mind the odd power outage — but when they go on for more than 6 hours, it gets old. Especially when you have to work, and there’s no power there either! 😯 We had to use calculators and write down everything we sold, and we were freezing our asses off (by the light of a coleman lantern). Just like the old days, ha.

  10. 10 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Bene D – The kittehs were pretty good — they were a little worried about the noises coming from the roof, but they weren’t hiding, just looking up quizzically. (And then looking at me, as if to say “Can you stop that please?”)

  11. 11 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Torontonian – Dirtyword Scrabble! One of my favourite games.

  12. 12 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Dr.Prole – Really, eh? The whole time I lived over there, I don’t think there was one power outage. Before moving to the island, the last power outage I remember was when I was a little kid in 1964 or 65, that big outage that blew out the entire east side of north america.

    Now I expect power outages on a regular basis during the winter. Progress!

  13. 13 Bruce Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I wondered what things were like at your place, but figured you would be ok as long as a tree doesn’t land directly on you. I also figure you know enough to recognize the sound and get the hell out of the way.

    I remember storms out there, not the same in downtown Toronto, Mother Nature really likes to strut her stuff out there.

  14. 14 JJ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Bruce – I’m hoping that by the time I hear the sound of a tree falling, I’ll still have enough time to get away (and know which direction to run).

    Yeah, the storms out here are something else. All kinds of weirdness blows in from over the ocean and wreaks havoc when it gets inland. Mother Nature is pissed!

  15. 15 J. A. Baker Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Big Darkness

    Sounds like the next Andrew Breitbart project – probably about the dangers of having an African-American moderate Democrat as POTUS.

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