Cross-posted from my new blog, 365 Jobs:
Saturday, January 7, 1995
Friday night, 10:30 pm, in bed I'm reading by headlamp because the electricity is out. Every winter we have one killer storm. This is it. Up our street a few years back a tree sliced a cabin like a hatchet through a cupcake. Now rain is pounding; wind rushing; giant redwoods are bending over my house. We sleep downstairs, hoping the upper floor will act as a cushion.
In La Honda the power is always going out. The phones, never. Now it rings.
It's my ex-neighbor, Mark. He lives in the flatlands now. He says he just had a dream in which he was in the redwoods in a wild storm. He thought I should know.
When Mark tells you a dream, you better pay attention.
As I hang up the phone, I hear the snap, the sickening whoosh and crash of a falling tree. In a bathrobe with a flashlight I go out to inspect - in blackness, in pelting rain and rushing wind - and hear another snap and whoosh - which tree? Where is it falling? And which way do I run? Easy - I run back inside. My three kids are sleeping. Oil lamps are flickering and smoking. I listen to the wind, the branches striking the roof. I pray for no emergencies so I can stay safe, snug, dry in bed.
Saturday morning, a gentle rain. I survey the damage. Redwood branches litter the ground. An oak has fallen. My house, okay. Beside me, Mark's former house, okay. Below me, Marilyn's house lost another skylight. The one they sleep under. Nobody hurt, just freaked out. Another job. I don't wish for work among my friends and neighbors, but I'm there when they need it. I lay a ladder on her A-frame roof, spread a tarp. I'm lucky. Protected, somehow, by Mark's dream.