According to the old axiom about lightning never striking the same place twice, the Wingfeather Workshop – where the little Birdsongs come from – is now the safest place to be in an electrical storm!
Yeah, yeah – I know it’s bupkis, but I’m going with it for now because our little green shop of wonders is not a skyscraper or cell tower and we don’t have big antennas on the roof. It’s just another of the bazillion little tin roof buildings out in the rural trees of the south. To me the odds are with us, and the fact it didn’t blow the little place sky high is pretty amazing too. Huge scorched racing stripes down the insulation, exit wound outside just under the gutter, splinters impaled in foam insulation, grenaded switches, light fixtures blown off the wall, and… get this… an old land line jack cover popped off with enough force to knock things off my desk… in the assembly shop next to it… speak to the hit it took. From maybe 50 yards away it sounded like a bomb in a cymbal factory.
“Feeling very safe up here at the moment…”
Thankfully, nothing was damaged other than some wiring and outlets etc., and miscellaneous lightbulbs all over the compound. A motion sensor. The shop stereo… that sucks. Overall though, simple fixes. We were, however, knocked back into the dark ages. Power outages during storms out here are routine, but let me tell you, this was one with style! Once I was able to get out and see what happened, I was ready for a week or two without power and making priority lists in my head as candles and other emergency supplies were gathered in one spot. And this… this is where I’m going with this week’s words. Do you even know your neighbors? Do you know where your flashlight is right now? Is it working? Can you cook if the power’s out?
Dig this – my place WAS HIT BY LIGHTNING. Regardless of who you are, what you think, how well you’re doing, what the odds are… that could have been you. That could have been your house. It could have been your neighbor’s house. It could have been your whole apartment building. It could have been your whole area. What would you do? This is what I want you to think about. BAM. No power, potentially for days. Big rain. Are you cold? Are you hot? Are you hungry? You will be. And if you consider yourself the head of a family, there is no excuse not to have some basic preparations aside and plans in place. Water is free, ramen is cheap, fire is easy. Inexpensive camping heaters and cookers and all kinds of stuff is literally at yard sales every weekend. There should be some in everyone’s closet with a few gallons of drinking water and some water to clean with and flush the toilet a few times. Why? Not because you’re worried – so you don’t HAVE to be worried. You know it’s there.
This storm came up in literally 10 minutes and got really hairy and BAM. Not just lights out for a while, but a hit. And not the power line transformer where someone magically shows up to fix it, even way out here (bless those people). You’re fried, buddy. However lucky you are to have a great electrical guy in your circle, it could be more days and dollars than you know until you know the extent. We take a lot for granted in our life of switches and buttons. We live in a precarious world, that’s why you have band-aids. I want you to consider gathering some supplies, skills, and tools, as a bigger box of band-aids for a bigger list of potentials. That’s all it is. Not some TV reality show, not some bunker in Arkansas and camo pants. It’s having a week of dry beans & rice aside and a little camp stove to cook it on. Knowing what to do is a choice – be that person. Being prepared is rarely the wrong answer. I love you folks and I want you all OK and out there playing music!
When the lights go out or things do down, if you’re not dead, it’s merely a test of your systems. Daily life is just a series of systems and there are simple ways of alternatively doing most of them. Out here for us a week or two without power would be a camping trip. A hot one, one full of other ways of getting done what are usually simple daily need tasks, but it’s going to be OK. It’s certainly not going to be life or death just because the power goes out. And it shouldn’t be for you, wherever you are, and it shouldn’t be for your family. In that moment I didn’t know if the rain would stop, how much we got or would get, the condition of the roads or low water crossings going out and away, extent of wiring damage (the 200 amp main was fried), nothing. It went dark, and I had other means. Thankfully the rain did stop, the wiring damage was mostly contained, everything was slowly and methodically tested and powered back up, our neighbors are great, and our handyman friend is an electrical genius. Mid week we were 95% fixed up. I took it as a chance to rearrange, put it back together a bit differently and clean up a bit. By mid-week next week I’ll be routing and carving and shaping again. Just another wild scene in a real trip of a life.
I organized all the wood and let me tell you - we have some interesting pieces, but we’ll get to that. For right now, time to get dusty and continue to work on the shop. And then there are the notes to go over on what plan Bs worked and what weren’t ready, so maybe a trip to the hardware store so I can have those all aside and totally let go of worrying about little – or even moderately sized – what ifs. Life happens; have the band aid.
If you need any advice on being a little more prepared than you might be, feel free to call – no purchase necessary – and I’m completely serious. Call me. It could have been anybody and it could have been much worse. I stand in awe of my little temple having been touched by greater forces. I’d have like to have seen it happen, but as what’s basically a cup of water with hair, that could have gone awry fairly quickly. The energy in there still raises the hair on my arms, and though not positive about it (har, har) I think the instruments in process that got to experience it are going to be extra special. I can just feel it. Thanks everyone!
Listening to: Well, not much unfortunately! But that’s an easy fix. I’m grateful.