There's a new mantra in the air at my house since the end of last week and it is, "We are so lucky."
We awoke typically early on Friday morning with no electricity and probably like most had no real idea what was in store. The landscape was disastrous in an artistic-suburban-landscape kind of way: tree branches and limbs were ripped and mangled, the shrubbery was weighted down with an ice coating and the roads were heavily glazed, several power lines were down. We confidently delighted our eight-year old with a no-school announcement (since we hadn't officially heard it) and then quickly realized we were not so well-prepared for a serious outage. We didn't even have the right batteries for the transistor radio (!) and the furnace had been down for several hours meaning no more heat or hot water. Hmm, this was for real.
I am in the second half of my life and I like to be comfortable. I don't really like to work too hard, particularly in areas where I don't have an interest. I feel like I've done enough due diligence already. The truth is, I'm somewhat lazy and take much for granted...like electricity, hot water, warmth, good food, transportation, etc. etc.
It wasn't the stillness, the lack of "purposeful" activity, or even the cooling house that got under my skin on Friday. It was the loss of control and the uncertainty of when this grim situation would end that drove me out the door.
My daughter and I drove into Portland, fascinated by a Route One in Scarborough with no traffic lights, and "oohing and aahing" at all the property damage we saw along the way. We maneuvered the parking in the Old Port and shopped for Christmas gifts for the several teachers, bus drivers and care givers that mattered in our world. I think it was during this time that my thinking - my awareness - started to shift. Boy, aren't we lucky?
We ate lunch in a small Thai restaurant and my humility continued to surface as we were helped by a small, elderly Thai woman with missing teeth, "living the dream" in the U.S.A., who bowed with her hands in the prayer position to her compatriots when they entered. Thank you, for reminding me of my time in Cambodia and what lovely people live there.
After lunch I phoned the home answering machine to hear that it was working; the power was restored. Wow, a whole 12 hours.
The weather for Sunday morning was forecast to be cold and clear. I communicated with the running group on Saturday as a reminder of the run and with information and suggestions about cold weather running. The group is open to all and while people register on-line at Peak Performance, there is no commitment to show up. (The only commitment is a personal one, to do it or not.) I'm never quite sure how many will be there, and yesterday with temperatures in the high teens, we had 12. Thank you for coming out.
The Sunday paper reported 95,000 Mainers were still without power. One of our group members had e-mailed from his office that he was still without electricity and facing the daunting situation of draining pipes before freezing. Others I know were stranded inland without power. I felt so lucky to be out there, warm and invigorated, and looking forward to the ten-mile workout with the hills of Spurwink and Scott Dyer Road.
The ice covered landscape made for a beautiful scene, especially when the sun came out and created a sparkling winter wonderland. Sunday was a beautiful morning for a run. Unfortunately, much of the course we ran in Cape Elizabeth appeared dark and quiet except for the hum of generators, some loud and cantankerous, others less noisy and assured. There was serious damage along Sawyer Road and the utility workers were out on Eastman. The whole time I kept repeating my mantra of good luck, fortune, and gratitude.
There's a bronze statue of Joan Benoit Samuelson in front of the Cape Elizabeth Public Library at the top of Scott Dyer Road, running and wielding the US flag as she did on the track at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles when she won the gold medal in the first ever Women's Olympic Marathon. I salute that image every time I pass it, thanking Joanie for all she has done for women's running. Yesterday as I made my way by, my sense of gratitude and privilege was especially acute, knowing all that I have to be grateful for here in my life; running with friends, planning for success, and being truly gifted with abundance - a warm home, food, health, and family.
I'll say it again, "We are so lucky."