The calm before the turbulence continued from Friday morning into the afternoon. But by 5 PM, the 60 MPH wind pushed the trees to sway with enough vigor to uproot the sturdiest palm. Power outages soon followed as Tropical Storm Fiona tail whipped Antigua and Barbuda while transforming into a Hurricane.
Some locals claimed the ghost of Queen Elizabeth punished us for not properly mourning her death. In parts of the UK, all business affairs ceased for ten days. Antigua and Barbuda, a member of the British Commonwealth, only declared the Monday of her services a national holiday.
Remnants of the storm stayed with us throughout the weekend and forced us to sit still. Water flooded the nation's narrow roads, and multiple communities experienced power outages. Most businesses closed their doors early on Friday in anticipation of the wind and rain. The airport stopped all operations.
A temporary shutdown of island traffic offered a preview of the week ahead.
We didn’t leave the house. Instead, we read, wrote, napped, and used the generator to cook and surf the internet to break up the boredom.
The wind persisted.
A section of the fence surrounding our pool fell. The dog gained unobstructed access to the deck, and our neighbors received a view of every movement in the house. Luck, grace, and mercy or some combination spared us from the full brutal force of Fiona's energy.
We cannot say the same for other Caribbean islands. Footage of Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the Dominican Republic illustrates the more severe wind and water damage. One week later and Hurricane Fiona has Canada in her path.
Hurricane season continues until November in Antigua and Barbuda. The severity of the wind and rain is difficult to predict with precision. However, every year, meteorologists inform us to get prepared with groceries, gas, flashlights, and any other necessities.
At any moment, a single drizzle can morph into a full-blown storm.
How do you prepare for the unexpected? How would you respond if a storm cut off your water supply and electricity? Perhaps, you don't live in a region prone to annual natural disasters. If your health suddenly fails and you lose your job, do you have enough reserves to take care of your household needs? These are challenging scenarios, but we need to think about resources.
In addition to the storm last weekend, my daughter met covid and brought it into our healthy household. We tried to keep her and her friend isolated to prevent the spread to everyone else, but the virus escaped and took my wife as its' first hostage. My wife looked to me for a rescue, and covid put me in a headlock.
Today is the first day I have been able to look at a computer screen for more than five minutes without a throbbing headache interfering with my focus.
Hurricane Fiona left Antigua and Barbuda, but the storm's remnants linger. While the children tested negative this week, my wife and I remain positive for the coronavirus. We continue to experience challenges with electricity and water.
Life is not perfect. When the unpredictable happens in our lives, we must adapt to the circumstances or risk losing everything we believe to be true about ourselves. On the other hand, sitting still is sometimes just what we need for clarity in preparing for the next storm.
Take a few moments this weekend to appreciate what you have and plan for the uncontrollable future. Because I am stuck in my bedroom, I have no choice but to follow my advice.