Riding out the storm was scarier than I thought it would be. I can’t imagine riding out a hurricane, although Ian was on the fence between Tropical Storm and Category 1. It was the sustained winds that were freaky. Once they started, they didn’t end for hours. It felt like a switch had been flipped around 2 p.m., and they were strong enough that we didn’t venture over to Lisa’s until 7 p.m. The winds were still going then, but by that time it seemed that all the big stuff that was going to fall down had already done it.
At first it was exciting, because I love storms. Sandy is so indifferent to it. My sister and I, as farmer’s daughters, were raised to pay attention to the weather. In those pre-Internet, pre-cable times, one of us in the family was expected to watch the weather forecast at 6 p.m. on one of the two television stations we received and tell him about it when he came in from working at the farm. My sister is fairly traumatized from the destruction of Hurricane Florence a few years ago when we thought that we would lose both family homes from the flooding damage, but she was not too worried about this one. It still surprised her. It ended up coming onshore right at the South Carolina coastal area that she and Tim had just left the day before.
There was a big tree down on a house between the lake house and her house, and the old catalpa tree that my father planted in the 1950s snapped in our yard, but thankfully it fell over into an empty area into the lot next door. Mainly there was a covering of small and medium sized branches and Spanish moss and bald cypress needles all over the yard afterwards. We didn’t have any flooding. Our power went out for only a couple of hours. I was shocked (not literally) when it came back on in the middle of the storm.
This photo shows the layer of debris blown up to the back porch, and the variety of flora in the washtub is a nice collection of what is around in late September here.
Meanwhile, in central North Carolina, the power was out for over a day in many places, including Greensboro. Our house in Greensboro never lost power and there were no big limbs down.
I pushed it too far with picking up the debris at the lake house and strained a muscle in my back, which ended up putting me to bed on Monday afternoon and part of Tuesday. Sitting has been painful. Even though I left the yard needing a good raking, I still mounded up an impressive pile of branches. I wish I had photographed it, but by that time I was only thinking about the pain. It would have been a good opportunity to bring home a couple of garbage bags full of Spanish moss for mulch.
I also got bitten on the hand a couple of times by a fire ant – but Lisa had some medicine that helped a lot. It still itches from time to time, but I’m thankful that I didn’t get swarmed.
Anyway, I sat on Lisa’s pier and watched the big turtles Saturday afternoon and later we enjoyed a beach fire and drinks and dinner with Lisa and Tim.
On Sunday morning I was hurting bad, but as I came out of the bathroom I kicked a small round object on the floor. It turned out to be this little guy. At first I thought it was dead because its face and legs were covered in cobwebs. Then it moved its foot a bit and so I took it out to the lake, washed it off, and picked out the cobwebs with my long fingernails. (This was fortunate because I usually keep them short.) It had cobwebs all up into its shell. Once that was done, I waited to see if it would activate, and once it did, I took it out and put it on the edge of the water near some lake debris – some kind of plant that grows on the bottom out past the piers that washed up in big clumps. It chose to crawl into there and the next time I checked it was gone.
S/he was a yellow bellied slider, the prettiest turtle I have ever seen. It was very tempting to keep it as a pet, since I had pet turtles as a kid. I also killed those turtles from lack of care and the wrong care as a kid, so I hope I changed my karma by letting it go. I would not want to come back as some kid’s pet turtle, left to dehydrate forgotten in a terrarium in a utility room.
I cannot imagine the pain of the people whose homes are in ruins in Florida.