As I ponder the remaining few days of my summer vacation, I’m in awe of the blessings that envelop me. In the past two weeks, my tranquil community in upstate NY has endured an earthquake and a tropical storm. Our area is not new to small tremors, but our shaker last week lasted more than 30 seconds. It was estimated at 4-4.9 on the Richter Scale so not a huge quake but the duration of it was unsettling. It seemed the building was swaying, like skates gliding on ice. For a brief moment there was a weird picture in my mind of the “Shake Shack” from the finale production number of Grease. It made me thankful not to live on the West Coast.
A handful of days later I prepared for Hurricane Irene. Irene did not turn east as she was supposed to do as she rode up the coast. Women do have minds of their own, after all. As she weakened to tropical storm status, she blew a path through eastern New York State, just to the east of the Hudson River. I live just west of the Hudson River and we seemed to bear the brunt of the wind and rain. For once my power stayed on though the power line from the back pole to the house still lies across my back lawn taken down by a neighbor’s fallen tree.
On Monday I ventured out and realized just how blessed I was. All around me was leaf detritus, broken branches and limbs. Those could all be cleaned up with some raking. When I went out in the car, all around me was evidence of Irene’s fury. Huge power company trucks were mobilizing their efforts, the whine of chainsaws pervaded the air in every direction, people were working hard to restore power and order.
Then came the reality of surrounding areas, those suffering epic flooding and destruction. I can’t imagine looking at my home and seeing it half under water. I can’t imagine my street being washed away. I can’t imagine my livelihood being washed away. Each day I take time to offer a few prayers of thanks but also for those who are in dire need of assistance.
Today I went to my beloved lake, which lies in a county east of the Hudson River. On the drive there, I did not see any of the tree devastation so evident in my little corner of Albany County. It was easy to spot sand and gravel on the sides of the roads, evidence of large volumes of water from the torrents of rain. At the lake, the water is quite high and a little murky. It’s holding steady at 72 degrees. The dock is wobbly and I had to step carefully over a 12 inch gap between the shore and the dock. As I sat there this afternoon, the sun warming me through filtered high clouds, I gave thanks once again for my good fortune and repeated my prayers for those still in need. I enjoyed the peace of the water and couldn’t help but feel the irony of my relaxing swims juxtaposed against the rushing flood waters.
Never take your cloak of blessings for granted. There is always something for which to be thankful.