Night of the Tempest!

David's picture

Yesterday evening started out just like every other evening. The sun falling behind the tree tops, which engulfed our tent in shadow. The sweltering heat that had built up inside, was now able to cool down, allowing us to sit inside comfortably. With our pj's on and a movie in the laptop for Phoenix, we snuggled down into our bed as usual. Twilight hangs around for a long time here in the north, but as usual it succumbs to nightfall. And last night was no different. With Phoenix and Patricia sound asleep I decided to hop on the internet for a bit. It was then that things started to get ... unusual.

Normally, I'd read a couple chapters of a book, or go online for an hour or so before going to sleep. But last night I stayed online a bit late. Unusually late. I wasn't seeming to be getting sleepy at all. 11:30 rolled around, then 1:30 came and went. Until finally at 3 o'clock in the morning I started to get sleepy. I hadn't noticed it until a slight breeze passed through the tent, but it was unusually warm inside. I can't sleep when I'm hot, so I figured that's why I hadn't gotten sleepy until now. When the screen turned off after shutting down my laptop, all the lights were off. But actually, that's when all the lights seemed to turn on.

Not even a moment passed after the screen turned off, that flashes of light started blowing up outside. With a quick peek out the screen, it was obvious where it was coming from. The sky flashing like a strobe, one right after another, I could see the huge mass of dark clouds in the sky. Lightning was flashing quicker than a second hand ticks. And with each flash I caught a glimpse of the menacing clouds. Normally when watching a cloud move across the sky, it slowly changes it's form. Not these clouds. In each flash of light the entire sky had dramatically changed. These clouds were moving, and they were moving fast! Patricia, awoken out of her sleep by the amazing light show, came to the screen to look out. She turned, looked at me and asked, "Do you think we'll be ok in here?" At first I figured we could ride it out in our tent, but even as she asked the question I swear the wind picked up 10 mph. I looked at her and said, "Well, if we're leaving we better do it right now." I knew we didn't want to be caught smack-dab in the middle of this squall, trying to get into the house.

Patricia loaded up on pillows and blankets, she looked like Atlas holding the earth. And I, with Phoenix asleep in my arms, the three of us headed off to the Dorothy's house. In less than a minute we were stepping out of the tent, and at that moment the rain was upon us. Large, individual drops greeted us outside our tent, and by the time we were at the front door to the house, it was a full rain that ushered us inside. With the sense of urgency that came as quickly as the approaching storm, it was a bit hectic getting the bed in the basement made up. Maybe five minutes later, I was able to set Phoenix down on her bed. But it was only she who was able to lay down. Patricia had more work to do before we could sleep for the night so she tended to those duties. But there were still more things to get out of the tent. So I, barefoot and no shirt, set out on a retrieval mission.

I opened the door and was met by the greatest maelstrom I had ever seen. The rain was coming down in sheets, the wind tore at the landscape, the thunder was a constant rumble and the lightning was orchestrating the whole thing. Without wasting any time, I jumped down the steps, raced across the grass and barreled through the plum trees. I had a light, but I didn't need it. The lightning lit my way. Then, I came upon the tent. Or what was supposed to be a tent. The wind had buckled the front of the tent. To get inside was like going inside a wine cellar. The door was laying almost level to the ground. I unzipped it, and crawled inside.

I was sure I knew what had to be saved. There was the laptop. Replaceable, yes but the pictures and videos we stored on it are not. And then there were some very important and very irreplaceable documents that we could not lose. And lastly a simple, meager, used and abused book. Hmm, why save a book like this? Well, simply put, it does not belong to us. It was a book borrowed from the town library. Sure I could have dismissed it. It is after all just a book. But that fact that it wasn't mine and that I was already in the tent, I figured I may as well grab it. Besides, I'm a firm believer in karma and I could use some good right about now.

So I'm inside and the wind seems to have decided that if it can't blow the tent away, it will flood it to the ceiling. So there I am, one hand holding a light trying to find our treasures, and the other on the tent door trying to hold it closed to keep the rain out. I soon realized I couldn't hold the door and pick up the things I wanted at the same time. So I turned my attention to the door. With the wind and rain driving in my face, I felt for the zipper. I took hold of it and with one long snag less swoop, I zipped it up shut! Finally, I could get our things. Or so I thought. Zipping up the door made a nice boat-like sail to catch the wind in. I should have known the outcome of my actions being how this is exactly how I found the tent. The wind, with all it's might, pushed the wet tent wall on me, smothering me to the floor. Again I found myself fighting the wind and not retrieving our valuables. With a grunt I turned and dropped to my hands and knees. With the wall pressing my back I scrambled along the floor gather our things.

Finally I had them all. The laptop, the documents, and the humble book. But how was I to take them out without them getting wet? I found what blankets Patricia had left behind, and bundled them in a ball. Now you see, the entire floor was filled with water, and I was amazed to find the blankets still dry. Could it have been karma paying the debt I was owed from saving that humble book? Damn straight it was! Anyways, back to the story.

So, there I was, huddled over a ball of blankets and the storm still raging on outside. Now it was time to get out. With a heave against the wall I stood up. And with the ball in my arms I tried to find the zipper. On our tent the door has two zippers to open the window, and two more to open the door itself. I mistakenly bundled up my flashlight inside the ball, and refused to open it up just for the light. So I felt for the zipper. Like pulling out a load of laundry at once, I didn't want to let go with one arm in fear that something might fall out of the ball. So using my arms to hug the ball, I felt the wall for a zipper with just my hands. I felt and felt and after what seemed to be forever finally found the zipper ... to the blasted window! Sugarhoneyicetea!

Cursing up a storm that rivaled the one outside my tent, I realized I had been gone for quite a long time. I wondered if Patricia would come out and rescue me. On the verge of defeat, I decided to take a break and sit down. I sat there listening to the wind howl. I felt the cold wet wall pressing on my head and face. I saw the flashes of lightning through the insides of my eyelids. I wondered, maybe I should just sit here and wait it out. The tent was holding up even though it was feeling more like a wet sleeping bag. Sure I'd get wet, but I could probably hold the ball on my lap to keep it dry. With a loud sigh, I opened my eyes. Suddenly a flash hit me. Not a flash from the storm, but a flash of a light bulb going off above my head. The zipper! How could I have forgotten? When I had zipped it shut, I zipped it from top to bottom. So quickly I felt low on the tent, and in no time at all I had the zipper in my hand. With a burst of elation I pounced out of the tent, and ran like the dickens to the house.

*sigh* All-in-all the whole storm came and went in about a half an hour. It was subtle, it was quick and it was very devastating. The tent, our home, stood it's ground but not without punishment. Inside was flooded, our mattress and left over blankets soaked, and our books and notes all soggy. If we were just starting out on our homestead, what would we have done had there not been a house to run into. Take shelter in the car maybe? I will tell you this, last nights tempest definitely caught my attention.

One final note... we did lose an important item in the storm. Our camera was left behind in the tent. We are letting it dry out before trying it, in hopes that it will still work. It saddens me to think that we won't be able to post new pictures in our blogs. We will continue to write about our experiences, of course. But we sure would like to have pictures to go along with them.


What a storm. By the way you write and your details made me feel like I was seeing then happening right before my eyes. Where did you get these awesome writing skills???!!! glad everything made it safe. I would be more then happy to send you my camera to have if needed. I am looking to purchase another one so that would give me more of a reason too!!!

Love you guys...verify meeee plzzzz!!!!

By Sister (not verified)
Rick's picture

While reading that I think I felt rain splashing on me. Glad you guys got out safe!

Also, I think an early Yule gift might solve your camera problems...

By Rick
Rachel's picture

Regarding the camera, you might try packing it in an airtight container with rice. I've been told that helps draw the moisture out of electronics. It worked on one of my cell phones actually. That may help you retrieve those photos that are on there now.

By Rachel
Criddles's picture

Yes..the rice trick works! I had to do that to my cell phone too. Take everything out and let completely dry for a couple of days. I hope you get it working again. I enjoy seeing the pics posted.

By Criddles
David's picture

The camera is still working. I'll have to remember the rice trick though. Thanks!

By David
David's picture

Camera update!

It's still kick'in! Patricia had taken the battery and memory card out, and then let it dry. Today she put it all together again, and that little sucker kicked on and was ready to go.

Thanks for all the tips and comments.

By David