I live in Georgia and I have off and on since I was 12 years old. Mostly on, if you must know. Two weeks ago I experienced something I have never experienced in 36 years here. We got 10-inches of snow. As you can see it was quite beautiful. I should be writing about the majesty of this once in a southern girl’s lifetime experience. I wish I could say that I was able to let go of being out of power for nearly 3 days and surrender to the moment. That would not really be the truth. If I am being perfectly honest there was good and bad out of the experience and it served to further teach me both, how far I have come and how far I have left to go. I believe our whole life is a work in a progress. Sometimes we feel like we are nailing it and sometimes we feel like we are being nailed by it.
To say the region was somewhat unprepared for an actual snow storm is an understatement. We are usually a rumor of snow, strip the shelves of bread and milk kind of people in Atlanta. This time was different. We were coming off a few years of anticipated winter events that never were. Even our usually jacked up local meteorologists had a “chill it is just flurries” vibe as the models rolled in hinting at a more serious event. Well the snow started falling Friday morning and by 10 AM businesses and schools were issuing early closings. I was excited about a weekend snowed in with hubby and my cats though a little frustrated that it might put me further behind my chill holiday schedule. That changed pretty much as I slid into our garage after a challenging ride home. I think I was in the door 5 minutes when our power went out for the first time. This time it as out a little less than 4 hours.
When it came back I was grateful. I was so nervous about my husband making it home because they dismissed elementary school last. I was truly grateful when he pulled up even though I had to yell out that the garage door would not work because we had no power. Still we were able to enjoy a run in big fluffy snow. This is not the kind we ever see. I could fully immerse myself in that. The power remained on that evening and I felt a sense of gratitude and peace that you get when you realize the riches of having a home and all of your loved ones safe.
Long story short we awoke at 4 AM Saturday to a cold house and no power. It had gone out sometime during the night as snow continued to accumulate all night, into the morning. There were catastrophic power outages, icy and snowy roads. We were without power until Sunday evening at 7 PM. This turned out to be earlier than many folks were restored. I would like to say that I handled it all in stride. I was frustrated and aggravated. I had cold kitties, a dark house, dwindling battery on my cellphone, no knowledge of how to disengage my garage doors, and little to no food in the house. The frustration was definitely a companion. I will say, though I had moments of frustration, I was calmer than I would have been in the past. I was able to meditate, I was able to recognize we still had much, even without power. In all of this there was gratitude to be found.
My Winter Storm Benji Gratitude List
- We had a house, even a cold one.
- The cats, though cold, were eating and using each other and us to keep warm
- We had costs, gloves, blankets, flashlights, batteries, a boom box, and candles
- The Chinese place that delivered every tofu dish on their menu on Saturday through the snow.
- My husband. He chipped away ice on the driveway, set up a kitty snow camp, and reminded me of what truly good partners we are.
- My mom who kept calling and checking in and told us how to disengage our garage doors
- We could turn on the cars to warm the kitties and charge our phones
- A gas stove that allowed us to make tea and coffee
- Wine, enough said.
- Social media. That may sound weird but during the storm social media made us feel connected to friends and family some offering help and a place to warm up, some comparing our new Little House on the Prairie lifestyles. Also it helped us keep up to date with the power issues and road conditions.
All in all we made out okay. When the power came back on and ever since I have been more cognizant of how truly easy our lives really are. I am also grateful to all the lineman, who were probably also out of power but slept in their trucks, drove in dangerous conditions, and did dangerous work to get power restored.