Nothing is like the sounds and sights after a rumbler of a storm in the Muskoka’s. At first it’s quiet like nothing you have ever heard.
We always notice the quiet when we leave the city and arrive at the lake on any given weekend, seeming to sleep like babies that first night and never failing to be surprised by it. However a thunder cracker that knocks out the power to the whole lake on the first bang creates a quiet that far surpasses the lakes usual stillness. There is absolutely no humming of any sort. The quiet is eerie, until the birds come back out from wherever they hide during such a storm. The lake even stops lapping against the rocks in a still calmness, littered with debris and floating dock furniture.
We begin to creep out from our hiding places to assess the damage and the silence begins to fill with the drone of generators, the whirl of chain saws and the whapping of the hydro helicopter. Neighbours and friends check in on each other, pitching in with clean up. Furniture is retrieved from treetops and fished from the lake. Cottagers share stories of trees bent over, roots pulled up out of rocks, branches taking flight and boaters making quick ditches for cover at whichever dock was closest.
As dust turns to nightfall we slip back into our dark cottages to dig out the dusty candles and working flashlights. Dinners are cooked solely on BBQ’s and the lake settles into a dark and quiet night. People gather at the cottages with a generator to charge cell phones and play cards with one light. The reminiscing of storm-stories from years gone by resurface with laughter, “… that was a close one!” comments, and compassion for anyone who might have had serious damage or loss.
These summer storms are humbling. The force of Mother Nature is awe-inspiring. It’s a reminder to respect her, and take in her beauty, strength and power in wonderment. When tops of trees are twisted right off, ladders and boats ripped from their docks and tossed haphazardly around, whole sections of ground torn from the bedrock by the roots of mighty, tall pine trees tipped over by the weight of their branches against the winds … it’s both shocking and impressive.
My family is one of the last on our point to turn the generator on. I am not sure if it’s because we hope the power will be back quickly, nostalgia of being disconnected from the grid and percolating our coffee on the BBQ, or simply to avoid disturbing the peace. Perhaps it’s a bit of all three, regardless summer storms at the lake are always a story to talk about. They are an opportunity for our lake community to unite in camaraderie and they always provide an abundant showing of kindness and gratitude. Gratitude that it wasn’t worse, gratitude for the helping hand of your neighbour, and gratitude for the hard working Hydro One crews that work tirelessly to bring back the lights. That my friend is magic.
When the dark clouds roll in, when the winds whip up, when the whitecaps spit water into the rain filled air and when the thunder and lightening clap, Mother Nature is simply showing off for us … humbling us in her wake.