I saw the storm approaching on the radar around 11. I heard the thunder in the distance. It looked like we were going to get hit hard. There was a thin line of storms on the radar but it was all red with an outline of yellow. I immediately ran around the room unplugging everything that could possibly call the attention of lightening. The dog fence was deactivated. The internet was disconnected. I placed the lantern next to my bed. I knew i’d need it shortly and i wished to save myself the trouble of finding it in the dark. I didn’t even brush my teeth. I knew it would be a doozy and it would probably be pretty hard to sleep if it sounded like the house might come down, so i figured i had better try to get a good thirty minutes of shut eye before it arrived. Cashew heard the thunder in the distance and was panicking now. I ushered her reluctantly into her crate. Sili waited impatiently for the invitation and then climbed into my bed, tucking her tail and hiding in the covers as i zipped her in the mosquito net tent. I held Sili and stroked her fur while telling Cashew, “you’re okay. Everything’s unplugged. You’re fine. It’s okay.” This worked while i was awake but when i drifted off to sleep Cashew stopped hearing my voice and began whining and barking. I managed to get about 40 minutes of sleep before the storm woke me. I could hear the refrigerator and a/c unit running and see the clock lit up on the oven so i knew the power was still on. The rain was hitting the roof and the side of the house. There was a lot of lightening. There was also a fair amount of wind whipping the rain against the side of the house and rattling the windows with each gust. At 12:40 am i heard the refrigerator motor click off and all went quiet. The clock on the oven was no longer visible. The power was out. It was pouring outside and had been with merciless intensity for the entirety of the storm. The wind was whipping the rain sideways and i could hear the water trickling into the house around the edges of the window unit. I wanted to go place paper towels in the problem spots and see how bad the situation was but the sheer amount of lightening stopped me. The hairs on my arms stood on end and i had the feeling that we were some place we weren’t supposed to be. There was so much lightening it hurt to keep my eyes open. It was as if i was living in a strobe light or an eternal red carpet experience where the paparazzi call to celebrities “over here, over here” while flashing bright lights thousands of times in their faces. Cashew was absolutely howling and turning round in her crate repeatedly. Sili was burying her nose under my arm and hiding in the blankets. I hadn’t seen this behavior from her and i found it intriguing. She was normally the brave one in storms. I entertained the idea that the lightening just may have been too prolific for her. She seemed to want a break from the strobe effect. She pushed her head under my arm and then under my torso and tried to hide beneath the comforter. I covered her head with the blanket and tucked her against me, “you’re okay.” I could hear the water coming in the house, the walls creaking, the windows rattling with each gust of wind, and i heard a bucket being tossed across the yard. I wouldn’t realize until the morning that the tub we used as a mailbox was also being tossed across the yard and would be found 50 feet from where it should have been, upside down and covered in mud. All of these things were concerning to me and yet, i remained glued to my bed. The lightening had become so frequent and so rapid that i was having some sort of psychedelic experience. I could see everything in my tiny house. The lightening was lighting the room, only taking a break for a brief fraction of a second before returning. I could see where everything was and also was losing sight of everything for a nanosecond each fraction of a second. It felt as if we were stuck inside a rave party of lightening. The flashes were in such rapid succession that i could no longer make sense of the fact that we had no power and were in darkness, because we weren’t in darkness. For about twenty minutes the lightening was so prolific that i don’t think there was ever 1 full second of darkness. I tried to check by counting “1 Mississippi” but i never made it to “ippi”. I didn’t move from where i lay in the bed and i prayed. I prayed to the Lord to protect the homestead from lightening, fires, tornados, high winds, hail, and especially lightening. I prayed continuously until the lightening became more evenly spaced; a flash here, a flash there. Sili tucked her head in my armpit and breathed a sigh of relief. I checked the radar on my phone and saw that the storm was now moving away from us and we had been through the worst of it. I drifted off to sleep while stroking Sili’s ear.
At 3 am my alarm went off and i awoke to darkness and silence. The storm was gone but the damage had been done. The power was still off. I pushed the button on the lantern and navigated to the kitchen for meds. After i took my morning meds i went to brush my teeth. I had forgotten to put the potatoes in the fridge and noted this was a good thing considering i wouldn’t be able to open the fridge door to retrieve food until they turned the power back on. I was thinking about how i was going to make sure i got everything clean with the floss and toothbrush, not being able to see what i was doing in the mirror, when the lights cut on, the a/c unit roared to life, and then cut off again. Within the next 2 minutes there was this type of false start two more times. On – off, power up – power down. The lights flicked on again and this time they stayed on. I brushed my teeth and charged my phone. I went back to sleep a couple hours and woke up again. I spent a couple hours showering, putting my uniform on, doing my hair and makeup, packing a lunch, readying the homestead for my departure, putting tea tree oil on my feet and donning my work shoes…my team leader called and said they were cutting hours and i could have the day off. My brain didn’t immediately process what was happening. I continued to get ready for work after hanging up the phone. Then i stopped and took everything off, laying my clothes and socks and shoes out to be used for the next day of work. I put my pajamas back on, wiped off my makeup, took the clips out of my hair, let the dogs into the dog run with a bowl of water, and sat down in the rocking chair to write this and focus on school work on my computer. It was a strange time of day to start school work; noon, but, that was just the way the cookie crumbled. I thought back to the night before. It felt like Sili and i had gone through some psychedelic light experience. At one point i looked at her and noticed she was looking at me. We were both watching each other, made visible only by the lightening. It felt like our bed was a boat in an ocean of electricity and i was sure that we ought not leave it but wasn’t positive we were safe within it. It was a trippy night.