Lessons From An Unpredictable Week

It’s been a week of unpredictable events.

Last Sunday I took my usual walk along the beach. The day was sunny and hot with just a gentle breeze blowing off the lake.

The beach was quiet in the late afternoon.  Here’s a shot of the beach where I walk — usually about 4.5 kilometres in the lovely warm sand.

View of our quiet beach
View of our quiet beach

Shortly after my return, threatening clouds appeared accompanied by loud thunder claps.  We pulled deck furniture into safety and coaxed  frightened cats indoors.

Rain started slowly but soon hammered down. Trees were bent as gale force winds rolled off the lake. The temperature plummeted.

The wind roared and the torrential rain continued through most of the night. Hydro service halted abruptly leaving candles and flashlights to ease the darkness.

By morning, an eerie calm settled over our small beach town.    Downed branches surrounded us.

When I ventured outdoors, I was greeted by a neighbour walking his dog who told me that a tornado had touched down about 1 kilometre away.

The nearby highway was closed due to fallen trees covering the road. One local coffee shop had a generator but long line-ups of cars had police were directing traffic.

Breakfast at our cottage was ice cream as we knew it would soon melt with no hydro to run the freezer.

Here’s a shot of the type of damage suffered by some of our neighbours as 300 year old trees were toppled on roofs of houses.  This older cottage will likely be demolished.


Storm damage
Cottage damaged by felled trees

After we cleaned up the downed branches at the cottage, we drove back to the city with a long list of errands and plans to visit friends.

On arrival at home, another surprise greeted us. Our son and daughter-in-law needed help with our sick grand child who had been sent home from child care with fever.  Two days of caring for a peevish 30 pound toddler isn’t easy — but I honoured my commitment to be available as back up when busy parents were needed at their jobs

By Friday our grand daughter’s good health returned. Two exhausted grand parents returned to the cottage without completing errands or seeing friends as planned.

In the past few days I’ve thought about how life has a way of interfering with the plans we make.  We expect to have hydro to make coffee in the morning and to keep appliances running.  It’s okay to be disappointed when plans change because of unpredictable events but there is always a silver lining.

Although all of us have plans for a day, for a week and for our future, many things in life can’t be planned.  Constant adjustments are needed to deal with events such as tornados or unexpected illness.  It’s also worth considering that disrupted plans often lead to serendipitous surprises with happy outcomes.

In the grand scheme of things, our lives weren’t changed by the events of last week.  We suffered only the inconvenience of losing hydro while some people lost their homes or suffered significant property damage.

The minor disappointment of changing our plans during the time spent in the city meant that we missed seeing some friends. There was, however a big payoff as we spent two full days holding and comforting our grand daughter when she needed the tender loving care of people she knows and trusts. In that respect, spending time with her was a beneficial occurrence.


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