Liv­ing Igor

The Compass - - OPINION -

the boat ashore get aboard their cars and head home for break­fast. It was com­ing up to 9 a. m. We are in­deed lucky to live among the peo­ple we do. The rain con­tin­ued to sheet down as the wind backed from north to west, the wind di­rec­tion to which our house is the most vul­ner­a­ble. The power went out mid-morn­ing and the wind con­tin­ued build­ing with bru­tal gusts punch­ing the house. The build­ing was shak­ing like a vi­brat­ing bed in a cheap mo­tel room. The liv­ing room win­dows were bow­ing in fright­en­ingly with each gust. The groan­ing and creak­ing of the house on top of the howl­ing wind cre­ated a shock­ing din.

We watched in hor­ri­fied awe as cur­tains of spray as high as two houses and as wide as we could see from the win­dow lifted off the rag­ing sur­face of the sea and ad­vanced to­ward us across the 800 me­tres sep­a­rat­ing us from Bishop’s Har­bour, smash­ing into the house like an enor­mous fist and wrap­ping the en­tire build­ing in a sheet of fly­ing wa­ter, oblit­er­at­ing any view.

The sea­wa­ter, nor­mally green and white when it is tur­bu­lent, was brown from the silt in the huge vol­ume of fresh­wa­ter run-off. I was draw­ing car­toons for a 5 p. m. dead­line for this news­pa­per and Lisa was un­pack­ing the stuff we had brought over from the Point. We couldn’t con­cen­trate very well.

About mid-af­ter­noon, Lisa no­ticed that the pop-up roof on our van had been lifted by the vac­uum of the wind pass­ing over the top of the ve­hi­cle and was in dan­ger of be­ing torn off al­to­gether. A friend helped me lash it down with rope. It took a while be­cause we kept drop­ping to all fours to avoid be­ing laid out flat.

This was about the time, we learned the next day, that the large stained glass win­dow in St. Stephen’s, one of the old­est wooden churches on the is­land, was sucked out of its frame and re­duced to smithereens on the road out­side.

As the light started to fade, so did the wind ever so sub­tly, but typ­i­cally for this kind of storm there were spo­radic bursts of vi­cious gust­ing. Igor was not go­ing out qui­etly. With­out power and ex­hausted, we went to bed with the light, wak­ing fre­quently to note that the wind was drop­ping, though the sea still boiled un­der a near full moon and star-crowded sky.

Wed­nes­day morn­ing dawned with a beau­ti­ful blue sky and mod­er­ate south­west­erly winds. In 24 hours the wind had backed 360 de­grees through ev­ery sec­tor of the com­pass. We walked around to the Point, bailed out our trusty old wooden punt moored off the float­ing wharf and rowed her over to the main­land side of the har­bour.

Mid-morn­ing we got the power back. Glued to the ra­dio we learned of the un­prece­dented de­struc­tion with sadly, but mirac­u­lously, one life lost. We were cut off by land from ev­ery­where, but had food, wa­ter and hy­dro. Many were much worse off.

Na­ture turns the vol­ume all the way up oc­ca­sion­ally to re­mind us how truly pow­er­less we are, and who is re­ally in charge. The old peo­ple in Sal­vage say they have never seen the like.

We were im­mensely com­forted by the kind­ness of our neigh­bours in the face of such wrath.

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