The new series of baskets is almost finished. All that’s left is to put the knobs on the vessel lids, take pictures, and put them all up on Etsy. It took a lot longer than I’d anticipated because I developed a new method that I think is much better after I’d already completed about half of the series, so after a few months of work, I ended up starting two of the color schemes over from scratch. And this past fall, Hurricane Florence made landfall right on top of our little city. We evacuated to the beautiful mountains in the western part of our state and waited. It was a long wait. The whole area had become an island due to massive flooding, and there was no way to get home. We finally did return before the authorities said it was safe to do so. Others who had safely made the trip were posting their routes online.
We were incredibly lucky. When we evacuated, Florence was projected to be a category four storm when it landed on top of us. That was why we left. Who knows whether or not our house could remain standing through such high winds? And our neighborhood, which is in an area that is not at risk for flooding, suddenly became at risk for flooding. When we left, we had no idea whether or not we would even still have a house when we returned. I decided I was not going to be one of the people who evacuates and comes back to find that everything they valued had been lost or destroyed. So I packed our cargo van with as much of the things that are important to us as I could. I brought most of our clothes, our pictures, computers, my sewing machine and serger, and all of the baskets I had completed, along with all the supplies I needed to make a lot more. If I was going to lose my house and my job, there was no reason I needed to lose my ability to make some cash by making baskets.
Our evacuation was perfection manifested. I mentioned to people that we were going to be evacuating. Suddenly we had offers of accommodations during our time away from home. Someone I’d never even met offered to let us use some of his extra hotel bonus points while we were on the road. Then an old friend who lives in the mountains invited us to stay with her until it was safe to go back. The only expenses we incurred were gas and incidentals (and thank-you gifts).
The stay in the mountains was lovely. It really was just what I needed at that point in time. There were lots of open windows with a lovely breeze blowing through them at all times, and one spot in the kitchen where I could sit and soak in the amazing view while enjoying the clean mountain air. After many months of being made sick by the polluted air here in our town, that was just the thing my body needed.
When I found out there was a major hurricane headed our way, on a very deep level, I knew it was a life-changing event. I had no way of knowing what kinds of changes it would bring, but I knew nothing would ever be the same for me after the storm. And I knew deep down that it was going to be good change in the long run. As our experience unfolded, this was made more and more plain to me at every turn.
We returned to minimal damage (I say minimal, even though we need a new roof, because so many homes were completely destroyed). A lot of the shingles were missing from the roof, but there was no leakage inside the house. No windows were broken. Our house was not flooded. There is still a lot of disaster recovery because we have to get a new roof, with all of the bureaucracy required for insurance and other disaster assistance, and we had lost wages because of the evacuation. Infrastructure damage prevented me from doing the muggle job for three months, which was a big hit on our finances, and required a lot of red tape to mitigate. I was very pleased about not being tied a desk and phone for hours each day during that time. I needed to focus my energies on disaster recovery.
Our little city was a very changed place when we got back. There was debris everywhere: building debris, debris from trees and other vegetation, destroyed belongings piled up by the side of the roads waiting to be collected. Many people were still living without power. Most people had a rumpled , sweaty, weary, and somewhat dazed look, and nobody cared. Independent contractors who were involved with the disaster recovery were encamped in the parking lots of stores and shopping centers, with their semi tractor-trailers, marquee tents, RVs, spotlights, and massive generators belching out carbon monoxide into the hot and humid air. Many stores were still not open for business, or had reduced hours. Shelves were empty in a lot of the stores that were already open. At the Walmart, independent contractors were brought in to fill the store back up with merchandise. Everything in freezers and coolers had been destroyed because the power was out for more than a week, and it took two or three months to get them filled back up again. A lot of people were desperately looking for food. We stocked up as much as we could in the mountains and brought it back with us so we wouldn’t take food from people here who so badly needed it. People who were living without power, or who had even lost their homes had returned to work. Everyone looked like they were traumatized and in shock. I felt both a little bad and also greatly relieved that I had evacuated and spared myself the worst of what they went through. But there has never been a moment when I questioned my decision to go. That was the right decision for me, and I’m very glad I did it.
Some of the counties near us were completely devastated. Four months later, many people are still living in tents, with all of their possessions still piled up along the side of the road waiting to be collected. People are still being evicted from apartment complexes because the storm caused problems with mold. Many of them have limited resources and no place to go.
I’m back at the muggle job again and more ready than ever to move on to other things as soon as I am able. Those three months brought into sharp focus the degree to which I don’t find that sort of work to be nurturing to my spirit. While I was unable to work, I thought maybe that was the way in which this storm was going to change my life. I thought I would certainly lose my job. But my team lead at work really wanted me back. She worked very hard to make it possible for me to keep my job. And shortly before the final deadline for me to return to work, AT&T representatives showed up at our house and told us that our neighborhood now has fiber optic internet. Since the infrastructure damage that was preventing me from working was causing problems with our internet’s consistency of service, and fiber optic would correct that, I knew that I wasn’t meant to lose my job and I signed us up for the fiber optic. One day before I was going to lose my job, I was able to return.
I was extremely disappointed about that, but I know that when I am presented with an opportunity, if I don’t take it, I just end up making things more difficult for myself in the long run. Things are happening for a reason. I don’t like to question the reason. I just go with the flow and the reason makes itself clear to me over time. One of the blessings that came with not doing the muggle job for three months was having time to reconnect with the inner world that is my real home. It’s my own little universe, and it’s my favorite place to be. While being connected to my little world, I was able to explore a lot of ideas that I can bring back into the material world with me and use them to create my path forward. Upon reflection, I think that is the aspect of the storm that is a life-changer for me. The work for me now is to make the time and space to connect with my own little universe and manifest in the physical world what I find there. So that is what I am working on now. Once I have the knobs attached to the vessel lids and my baskets up for sale on Etsy, I’m going to put the baskets in the background for a while and do this work. I think I will wait and not reveal the nature of the work until I have more of it brought into the physical, but I am thinking of the process as being a sort of gestation and birthing.
Update on the throat: I am now able to eat almost everything I was able to eat before I had the accident with the broccoli. I feel confident that the Reiki was a big part of the healing, along with following the guidance I received while doing the Reiki. I have started doing Reiki on myself again, and I think it is helping a lot with my other processes. Updates to follow on that.
The view of the mountains from my friend’s amazing kitchen: