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On the Other Side of the Storm

1. Burying Compost 

The compost pile was no longer covered by a four inch crystalline cap. I was digging in the leaves burying the week’s compost.

I confess that even though I had shoveled a little snow, scraped ice off the windshields, tried (and failed) to make a snowman, and picked up slushy ice with my bare hands to boil, being able to empty the compost bucket unmolested by the polar vortex was a luxury.

2. Smelling Rotten Onions

The fair and industrious Trudy was replenishing the bird seed in the bird feeders.

“Do you smell something like rotten onions?” she shouted across yard.

I pointed at our expanse of wild onions that had begun to blossom just last week. They were lying limp on the ground, their leaves colored a wet, dank, dark green.

“Oh right,” she said.

3. Watering Winter Greens

As she pulled the shade fabric off her garden bed in the galvanized tub, Trudy discovered to her industrious delight that her Kale and Chard did fine. Although being covered they had missed the snowmelt and so the soil was dry.

She went into the house and fetched a pail of water. (Our three 200-gallon rain barrels being functional again, there is no need to melt snow in buckets for flushing.) With joy in her eyes and images of kale in tomorrow’s breakfast smoothie, she poured water on the greens.

They don’t call them winter greens for nothing. 

4. Opening Café Trudy

As I sit here writing, Café Trudy is opening for business. We have friends from across town who are coming to use the shower. We have friends from Buda who still have no water, and they will be coming by after lunch to fill some containers and for some socially distant socializing. Jennifer and Paul are coming by later just to hang out.

So Trudy is wiping down the blue and purple tables and chairs with Clorox. And she is talking to our next door neighbors. And she is preparing to take Miss Izzy for a long walk, which Miss Izzy more than deserves as she has been such a patient apocalypse companion.

And the birds are singing as she does all this. I am somehow reminded of something like this.

5. Taking Showers

We turned the water heater back on not long after the Next-door messages started flying about city water coming back on. The faucets gasped and sputtered. The aerators clogged with deposits and then flowed nicely once flushed.

“I’m taking a shower,” Trudy announced. She had a towel in one hand and clean clothes in another as she marched across the living room, her head held high.

Soon after, I did the same. And as I sit here writing, my legs are still warmer than they’ve been in over a week. And my hair, well let’s just say that my slicked-back doo is très passé.

6. Taking Stock

Compared to so many people in Texas, we had it easy. We were never cold. We didn’t go hungry. We had water to drink. We slept comfortably. Our water lines didn’t break. The Ash tree didn’t fall on our cars. Trudy found groceries when our supplies started running low.

We were some of the fortunate ones.

And I sit here now euphoric with warm legs and clean clothes, marveling at the warm sun and listening to the wind chimes singing in the wind that is blowing mercifully out of the southwest.