It was windy this past Sunday, and on Monday morning before it was light out, I drove past a downed tree–a large one–on my way to the gym. It reminded me of an experience Toes and I shared a couple of years ago.
September 11, 2017–the day Hurricane Irma came to Atlanta, GA. By the time it arrived, the hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm. But Atlanta still braced for it’s impact.
I was living by myself in our house at the time. David had gone to Madison, Wisconsin for a few months on a sabbatical. Toes was here with me, living in the garage.
We knew the storm was headed our way for days ahead of it. And on those days, I worried. All the news stories leading up to the storm talked about how many trees in Atlanta would come down. We had a large beech tree in our front yard that had been deemed high risk for falling by a tree company. A date had been scheduled for the tree’s removal, but that date wasn’t for a month or so.
On the day of the storm, I gathered my emergency supplies, watched the weather radar, and waited. Our garage is only accessible from outside our house so I knew once the storm started Toes and I would likely be separated for awhile. Before the rain became too heavy, I went out and made sure she had everything she needed: water, food, clean kitty litter.
I tried to give Toes fluids, but she was not having it. I attributed this to the fact that animals have a sense for impending danger. I imagined her thinking, “I don’t need you to stick a needle in me right now. Don’t you know what’s coming? We might not survive.”
I did know what was coming. Before I left the garage, I scratched Toes’s head and said, “Hopefully I’ll see you on the other side of this.”
Then I went back into the house to ride out the storm. Together with Toes in a way since we were in close proximity to each other, but separate in the sense that I couldn’t reach her without going out into the rain.
I watched the storm from my couch in the living room. I witnessed my neighbor’s tree falling into a power line sending up sparks. The downed tree would hang suspended in the air between the bottom half of it’s trunk and a smaller tree on the other side of the street.
The branches of the beech in our yard swayed in the wind but the trunk stayed upright. Thankfully, that tree wouldn’t come down until it’s appointed day with the tree company. Others in my neighborhood were not so lucky. I drove past at least two downed trees that had fallen onto houses and left gaping holes in their roofs–my worst fears realized.
Toes and I were without power for a few days but other than that we emerged unscathed. Soon after the storm, Toes acquiesced to receiving fluids, and I knew then that the danger had passed.