After describing storms in my last week’s blog, a wild wind storm knocked down trees and cut off power to most of the Olympic peninsula on Friday morning, with rolling restorations throughout Saturday. Sudden power outages occurred for about 10,000 homes. Not surprisingly, the point of land I live with and love, with its stunning views of Discovery Bay and Mount Baker, was last among communities to get our power back. But this was sooner than predicted, at one point the rumor (after all, what else do you have without power except rumors?) was that it could be 2-3 days without. We had to send some patients away from clinic, despite our generators, because at one point there were so many outages along the mainland that our electronic medical record was off-line. We can barely provide the most basic medical care without our EMR, and yet, we are totally unprepared to do without them. Eerily, on darkened roads, my work team all went to the Christmas dinner that our employers (the Jamestown Klallam tribe) puts on for us every year at the casino, where the generators were in full force, colorful lighted trees making an uncanny bright spot on the darkened highway. We all ate well knowing that another warm meal might not come for a while, and reviewed how prepared we are (or aren’t) for more than 2 days of going without power. And then beyond, how prepared we aren’t for an earthquake.
I’m vaguely prepared for outages at my home, although I drove to another county yesterday morning to get coffee and pick up firewood for the small wood stove I use only for these occasions. Even the furry beings were cold, and more cuddly than usual.
Today, I’m sitting at my desk, watching the sky. We are expecting another storm this afternoon. I love the cloud formations here, even when it is overcast, there are so many cloud layers that there are always spots of clear blue and cumulus fluffs beneath gray strato-fractus columns. I am grateful for a warm home, running water, coffee, a working computer and my snuggly cats.
I moved out to the west coast 11 years ago, feeling empty-hearted. Today I feel very much at home here.
When I'm not thinking about you, I learn the names of trees
I've learned to tell the fir from the yew; the silver
from the red cedar. At sunrise, there is a thin glint of light
northeastward where I await Mt Baker's frozen specter
careening over Discovery Bay. The lamps of Port
Townsend blink; strands of fog hang over fields.
Peckish deer nibble dandelions. I spare my lawn
for their graze. The squirrels, miniature and rust-bellied,
easily reach the hanging bird seed. I don't try to learn
bird calls, they come to feed and that's enough.
There are rumors of big cats. I've seen two elk—
one stared through me as if she knew my secrets, the other,
roadkill. You once told me my poems are too grim
and I should try my hand at something more pastoral.
I've seen powdered snow on Cedars, and I've grown
passably fond of rain. Everyday, the clouds amaze.