When it hit at midnight the winds arrived with a thud and the whole house shook. 90 kph. They are rare here. We were relatively protected.
They lasted until the next evening, although they began diminishing later in the afternoon. The house shook all day long. We lost our electricity immediately. I went outside in the dark to try and fasten down anything that had not yet blown away; walking around I was sandblasted with debris…even flying leaves stung deeply. Back inside there was nothing to do but to turn things over to God and to go back to sleep, which we did.
In the daylight we found that the roof of one shed had been completely torn off and that the tin on another was peeled back. Also, the lid to one of our wool fleece storage bins had been partially removed. There was no rain so none of it got wet. And checking inside the bin we found that this fleece has kept very well over three years…still dry and unharmed by insects…
Last Sunday I was up early, drove to town to fill a truck, and off to play liturgy at Mass (rescheduled two hours earlier weeks ago, which is now clearly a God-thing because…), which allowed me to drive several hours to southern Manitoba to pick up a wringer washer for 100$ and get home before it was too late (10 p.m. arrival back home).
It had been decades since I was in the area where I bought the washer, but the farther south I drove the greater the traffic until I was just one in a long line of cars stretching in either direction, and this is in the middle of literally nowhere(!) with flat terrain stretching off as far as the eye can see…that would be south central Manitoba an hour south of the #1 highway.
The man I bought the washer from talked about the urban sprawl in which he had gotten caught up…the price of his house tripling in ten years…the city being sure to swallow up his former rural homestead…the influx of immigrants…the industrialization of his area…and it going from rural to urban, skipping the middle step of gentrification. He could not believe that I was actually going to use that old thing to do my laundry, but we loaded it up, and I happily paid him his money, and I gratefully returned home. That was Sunday.
After losing electricity on Wednesday we spent that night with a kerosene lamp (and a propane lamp by which Carol graded exams for a while)…it was clear that in the eighteen years since arriving here our lived capacity for deeper dependence on God has come full circle. If need be we could live this way all the time.
Various branches of sociology use the term enduring pattern to delineate actions, that given similar geographical, economic, and social circumstances, whereby people maintain the same habits of life and mind over immense periods. Twenty years ago we intentionally removed our lives from the fast track to anywhere and have sought to learn to live in the undistracted presence of God as much as we are able. In this conversion of life we have unearthed a hidden wholeness that has been there all along in plain sight. And my friend who sold me the washer? When I said it was for our laundry it actually caused him pause, and he nodded his head, as if to say, Yeah, somehow that stirs a vague memory inside of me, too.