In Retreat With Hermine

The eye wall of Hurricane Hermine moved through Tallahassee Friday morning — at times reaching gusts of 92 miles an hour— she was more wind than rain and while many trees fell, more managed to withstand her immense presence.

In her aftermath, I found myself in a stillness similar to the meditative state–like a retreat–and that is where I would stay for 3 ½ days.

Outside the living room window of my apartment, a mature tree had fallen, blocking most of my living room view. One of its major branches rested just above the corner windowpane. The branch would remain there 2 ½ days.

When Hermine left, 68% of Tallahassee was out of power. To sit only in the light of day, which was sometimes gray, felt restorative but it was such an immense space.


There was no filling it up— no grasping or clinging; no avoiding or averting a moment— there was just being, and it felt eternal.

Life is a flash of lightning in the dark of night.

It is a brief time of tremendous potential.

B. Alan Wallace

Friday was a time in-between, a stilling after the wrath–a pause in the Universe– before life found its way anew.

I had plenty of supplies for me and for feline EmmaRose. We shared tuna. Overall, my repast was light but it felt like a feast–ginger tea, cashews, avocado, pinto beans (in a honey mustard sauce), organic vegetable broth and tart cherry juice for a treat.

However, we needed ice, and on Saturday morning, I took to the streets. The search brought out the sleuth in me–I discovered I am quite out of practice–it took me three hours to locate ice.

The time was not wasted nor were they hours of frustration. I was shocked at the destruction of Hermine–only a category one hurricane—entire streets were blocked off by trees either hanging in power lines or wire-wrapped round power poles/streetlights.

And not far from such fury were trees untouched—still standing in majesty– as well, streetlights and power poles, unnoticed. Hermine’s was a “random harvest.”

On Sunday afternoon, power in my area was restored, with the exception of landline phone service and Internet. The energy of my contemplative retreat was on the wane.comes-knocking-090616

Life after Hermine was starting up as it always does after any storm, no matter its name. Not far from my apartment complex, a group gathered to cook hotdogs for anyone who wanted one, just because they could.

They waved their signs to all driving by.

“We Love Tally!”

“Thank You First Responders and Linemen”

Random gratitude, joy filling a moment of community. We had come through it together. Maybe we were more patient with one another. I hope so.

And as I write this, my tree is still holding its ground, more horizontal than not, but cut away from the four air-conditioner units it once covered. It is mostly trunk, its branches—including the one that rested above my corner windowpane—stripped away and scattered for removal.

The view from my window is brighter at all times of the day. I can even see a few more stars at night.

I miss the shade of a sunny afternoon I once knew.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 

12 thoughts on “In Retreat With Hermine

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  1. Glad you weathered the storm! Your description of that fallen tree so close to the window is symbolic, I think of the wider realities of life. Chance intrudes: but that is something that has to be accepted, however that chance falls (as it were).


    1. Yes, Matthew, I feel the same about the fallen tree. As you may suspect, I spent some time considering “chance” and just what I was being given. Of course, my musings did not stop with the tree…. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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