We hadn't seen a storm like this in Cork in something like 15 years. I remember the last storm: It was Christmas, we lost our power for a week. We spent the time playing board games, lighting candles, sitting in front of roaring fires, telling stories. We had a wood stove that heated both the water as well as the house. We were able to cook casseroles and boil water on a little ring on top, making the most of the escaping heat. We lost countless massive hundred-year-old beach trees and a pine. They fell down like matchsticks.
This storm didn't feel so bad. It was windy, whirling, sometimes roaring. The gusts came from the South East. I wondered if it would catch another beach tree and fling it into our house. We lost power and my phone died not long after. I hadn't been prepared. We had no heating, we'd got rid of the stove since and adopted a regular open fireplace. We had no hot water.
It's the time when you can't have a cup of tea or coffee that you want it the most. We ate leftovers and wondered how we would fare, I wondered if this would be a week without power again and how could I not have learnt from the lessons of the past. Realising again, in that moment, how dependent we had become on technology and on the services of others to keep our lives running as we know it. I felt lost without that phone, computer and background noise from the radio. But there was a beauty in the silence. A moment to pause and escape the rat race. A moment to pick up that book I had been wanting to get back to reading for ages and surround myself in a sea of candles.
And then I took walk around the neighbourhood the following day; trees ripped from their homes, roots scattered, branches broken. All set amongst the stillness of the snow.