Every branch of every tree
Every needle of every evergreen
Every inch of the natural world
Coated in glass
Slick with ice sheaths
Frozen in place
Holding their breath
Suspended in stillness
For almost three days, the ice storm had us without power. And tens of thousands of our neighbors. Ulster County was ‘ground zero’ of the outages. What was there to do but fire up the generator, wait for the restoration, and pray that all would have a warm and safe place to lay their heads.
We have a generator so our basic needs were met - heat during sub-zero temperatures, a functioning well pump and hot water heater, and lights that illuminated with the flick of a switch. A wood stove to generate extra warmth in the kitchen and a woodshed stocked with wood. The only concern was for our pup Lizzy burning herself in her quest to be as close as possible to the ambient stove heat. We even have a Wi-Fi hotspot as a back-up relic from our pre-WiFi days, so could binge watch Weeds - or something more productive…
This is where I got myself twisted up. Once we figured out the logistics of keeping the generator running - how many hours until it’s out of gas? Which gas stations are open? Do we have enough cash on hand since the credit card machines are down? Which roads are closed because of downed trees? Once that was all sorted and I got used to the constant hum (some might say growl) of the generator running 24/7, then I figured it was time to get to work.
I had plans to finish prepping my taxes, put some energy into Jenifer Juniper, draft emails for Conscious Quitting, plan the garden and orchard, order seeds and live stakes, write a newsletter. Lots of plans, lots of lists, lots of to-dos.
I kept getting distracted. I couldn’t focus. It was hard to ‘accomplish’ anything. I was disappointed in myself for not checking anything off my list the first day. Resolving to do better, I went to bed dreaming of all the work I would do the next day. And then the morning got away from me. My mind wandered. The dogs needed walking. The TV needed watching. The puzzle needed making. The generator needed refilling. The food needed cooking. The kitchen needed cleaning. And instead of beating myself up, I surrendered. I followed the example just outside my window, and I paused. With no guilt. With no running to-do list picking at me from inside my head. I accepted the way the day was flowing and instead of putting pressure on myself to do more more more, I embraced the suspension of time. I languished in the suspension of time. I cozied up like the trees and rested.
And thanked Mother Nature for showing me the way.
Again and again.