Flashlights, Storm Prep, Slumber


Everyone’s phones buzzed as the weather alert interrupted our dinner on the screened porch.

“‘Alert, Derecho threat increasing rapidly,'” my husband read on his phone screen after silencing the sound. He looked up. “Derecho? That is not good.”

This was more serious than I thought. I had heard we’d be getting a storm with some rain. A derecho meant potentially crazy weather was coming. Possibly a tornado.

I stood up from the table.

“Everyone is excused. We need to get ready.” We hustled our dinner dishes into the kitchen. My daughter let the dog help with the cleanup.

We heard the wind dancing through the newly leafy maple trees, the tall red oaks, and the Leland cypresses in our yard.

“Let’s put the cars in,” my husband turned from the kitchen sink and we scurried outside. We parked the cars in the garage, returned to the kitchen, closing the storm behind us.

“Kids!” My husband called.

He turned left and I turned right.

“Aaah!” I yelped, almost colliding with my daughter. She was walking, swinging a heavy, black Maglite flashlight side to side around our family room. Where the overhead lights were on.

“I see you already got a flashlight.” I enjoyed pointing out the obvious. “But why is it on? Like, right now?”

“I’m just getting ready for the power to go out,” she stated matter-of-factly, shining the light into my eyes.

“Come on, we have to move all the porch furniture to the middle of the porch,” and so continued our storm preparation.

We shoved the porch furniture into a cluster in the middle of the porch. Threw pillows and blankets inside. Unplugged computers. Our son became an expert in pulling window screens inside. Screens from one side of the house were already soaked, as the rain had started during our prep.

When we had finished everything, we had a few quiet moments. Kids resumed homework on laptops inside. Husband returned to home office. I had plenty to do, but I wandered back out onto the screen porch with a blanket.

The rain smelled cool and fresh as it blew through the porch. Out there, I am outside, yet not quite. In the rain, yet out of the rain. Enjoying the spring weather, yet safe from wasps.

Just beyond the reach of the rain droplets’ spatter, I stretched out on the couch.

From my snuggly spot, I watched the trees bending in the storm. They looked more like flower stems than 75-foot tree trunks. I saw the wind blow the leaves up, down, sideways. The day faded through twilight into darkness under the stormy clouds. The weather was coming, but I felt safe. Before I knew it the storm had lulled me to sleep.

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