Thunder n’ Lightning

Mother Nature has let her indignation be known in response to how we continue to mistreat this land mass upon which we sit whilst twirling around the sun. Fort Frances and area residents know all too well what happens when water decides to go where it isn’t wanted. Here in Nova Scotia was another example of thunderstorms gone bad, hurling three months worth of seasonal rain into one 24-hour period. We are never as prepared as we think we are for emergencies of this sort, as roads washed out, rivers consumed homes, and lakes gobbled up beaches and docks, taking hold of anything that wasn’t on high ground. Thunder and lightning were relentless over a 16-hour period, the likes of which I have never experienced, with storm after storm following closely on the heels of one another until finally it was quiet at 3:34 a.m. Lives were lost, search and rescue were busy pulling people from trees, one nearby me who, in his panic, abandoned his sense of responsibility for camping in the onset of a storm, forgetting his gratitude for those whose skills involve saving people. The lake near me that used to be clear and fresh is now brown and filled with debris of trees, logs, pieces of dock, and a vast assortment of plastic “stuff.”

What struck me about this storm was the language used in broadcasting descriptions of what was going on. All media reporting seems insistent upon using extreme language as though creating panic is the goal. Over 200 millimetres of rain sounds much worse than 20 centimetres. Mammoth rainfall on an area that had already experienced historic wildfires, further evidence that the “news” has become money-making entertainment, dark as it is, rather than keeping the public informed. I couldn’t find out what roads were impassible on a 511 map that hadn’t been updated since May of 2023 but the news bulletins and reports were filled with all they hyperbole they could muster. Emergency alerts pierced the silence with evacuation notices. Global News used words like frightening and chaos. CTV wrote about the rain hammering communities. Yahoo news announced mammoth rainfall. Reuters reported the unimaginable damage. All made note of the state of emergency in most communities. Nineteen bridges were damaged and six were destroyed, clarifying it with “completely destroyed” which is a bit like saying PIN number. I don’t know how something can be partially destroyed.

Road crews are on it as traffic limps through areas where the shoulders are now non-existent. The sun came out, one yard’s sod looked quite happy to have had a bath. All the pine needles have been washed away from my driveway; my rain gutters cleared by the simple force of water moving through them. The blemishes on my car courtesy of a couple of birds have long vanished.

A weariness comes with being battled by the weather. We shake ourselves off and are grateful to have survived, grateful for those who jump into action when events such as these strike our communities. My house and yard are intact. Hurricane Dorian didn’t get me, nor did Hurricane Fiona. They tried, gave it their best effort, but my house and trees are still standing — for now. I wish we didn’t have to fan the flames and create despair for others. If I could identify a solid reason as to “why” we report events in such a manner, I would concede and alter my position. Young people who are attached to their electronic devices by an umbilical cord surely must become overwhelmed by such reporting, especially that which isn’t true. What possible positive change am I capable of creating, they will ask themselves and throw up their hands in defeat. Maybe if I was swept away by a woman-eating wave I would want everyone to know about it. But I doubt it. My demise is only of interest to a very small few. But I’d really like to know instead about those creative souls who have dedicated their energy for saving us all, who lie awake at night not counting sheep but imagining a society that embraces everyone, one not dependent upon fossil fuels, one not built on the enthusiasm to consume. I am part of the problem, and only I can change that. For now, I will think of those who have been devastated by this weather war, hoping they are able to put their lives back together, though for some that will be impossible.