The Calm Before the Storm

A view of the garden from the back gate.
This is after I cleared out all the pots and yard art ...
note the absence of the hose which usually appears in pictures of this area!

With Hurricane Ike's landfall about twelve hours away, I'm as ready as I can be for whatever it may bring to my corner of Katy. It's been 25 years since I experienced a major hurricane. As we hauled things into the garage this morning, EM and I were reminiscing about Alicia, a category 3 hurricane. We had just gotten engaged and picked out a ring at Tiffany's when the storm blew into Houston; EM had to postpone giving me my ring because of it. Alicia also cost us our once in a lifetime opportunity to see Simon & Garfunkel in concert; they cancelled their Houston appearance due to the storm.

Back then EM was living out in southeast Houston, not all that far from the coast, and rode the storm out in the company of neighbors, They played cards, drank champagne before it could get hot and go bad, and watched EM's storage shed sail off in pieces which fell to earth in other people's yards. I lived just off Montrose Boulevard near downtown Houston, in an old fourplex. A large oak tree was uprooted by the storm and fell across the driveway, coming to rest against my back door. I must have been in the shower at the time, because I didn't hear it fall. The first I knew of it was when I walked into my kitchen and saw it pressing against the back door. I screamed and ran into the other room to hide. I don't know what I thought it was but it scared me good! I've always thought that would make a great horror movie scene ...

We won't be on the "dirty" side of the storm, based on what they know right now, but it does appear that we could get hurricane force winds out here. I'm hoping we get generous amounts of rain as well. High winds would add insult to injury: the soil is so dry that plants in my gardens are already suffering. EM has moved all the hoses into the garage so I can't water unless I'm willing to haul buckets back and forth. I don't think I have the energy left to do that. Hour upon hour of hauling countless pieces of yard art inside, not to mention way too many pots and containers, have sapped my strength. Plants will just have to wait for the rain to start falling. For those who have never been through a hurricane and are wondering why all this effort, it's not a good idea to leave anything outside that could be picked up and flung about by the wind, or that will roll around and smash into other things that could break and be picked up and flung about. If we get strong winds and heavy rain, we'll have enough to worry about with tree limbs, and other debris.

As much work as it was to take the garden down to its bones, I'm grateful to Ike for giving me the opportunity to see my garden divested of all the usual pieces of whimsy and rusty stuff. My reaction has been very different from what I expected. As I stood at the gate to take a picture, I looked out at the garden and realized that with all that STUFF gone, the plants were much better able to take their rightful places as stars of the garden. I'm not sure I want to put it all back. I'm surprised that I feel that way but I think it's evidence that I'm ready to evolve as a gardener. What will the next stage of that evolution be? I don't know but I'm excited to find out.


Kathy said…
Hoping you and all my other TX friends and garden buddies stay safe. I'm following to keep tabs on y'all.

It must be unnerving to sit and wait for something like that to hit you.
The Killer Trees! But seriously, I hope you & yours make it through this thing safely & will minimal property damage. I agree with Kathy about the unnerving wait. At least with a tornado, you don't have time to worry about it.
Carol Michel said…
I'm also hoping for the best for you and all in the path of Ike. Hopefully, you also took the time to get some food and prepare for no electricity. Hunker down, stay safe, and stay in touch!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
Gail said…

I hope you, loved ones and friends will all be safe. Your last statements are quite intriguing; I look forward to hearing your further thoughts once the storm is gone and you have assessed damage and cleaned up.

Take care,
Anonymous said…
This is awful. This thing is 600 miles across and just upgraded to a Cat 3. I've been through 4 hurricanes and it's crazy.

I put my dresser in front of the window in the bedroom. You are right about securing things. They become flying torpedos. I hope all your neighbors did it too.

I just heard some statistics that don't look good. Clean water may be an issue. My home is open to you if you need a place to stay. Your home may not suffer damage but you could suffer the consequences of what is going on around you. Just head this way and my door is open to you.

I'm going to send you a private plurk with my phone #
Nancy said…
Hmm... you know, I had the same point when we'd gotten most everything put away. I have to see what survives, and what is damaged.

It will indeed be a new start, even if we put out many of the same art pieces again, I suspect it will still look very...different...somehow.
Anonymous said…
That's an interesting new perspective on your garden. I don't have much garden art or whimsy in mine, so I usually only see the plants. Maybe I need some.

Hope you don't get high winds and get the rain you need. I selfishly hope for rain here in Austin, too.

Looking forward to your Twitter updates throughout. Stay safe and let us know how things are going.
Anonymous said…
I hope your corner of Katy (well, all of it, actually) rides out the winds with no major damage. It sounds like you prepared as well as you could. Like Katy, Austin is not on the "dirty" side of the storm, and of course being much farther away we may not even get any rain, alas.

Keeping those in the hurricane's path in my thoughts. Pam/Digging
It will be interesting to see what evolves...both with the storm and with your thoughts about the garden/art/pots. Take care.
Annie in Austin said…
Just hello - thinking of you tonight, Cindy.

Gail said…
I have been watching the weather and am hoping you are dry and safe,

vertie said…
Hope y'all are surviving the storm well. I also went ahead and cleared some potential projectiles in my backyard and like the look as well.

I hope you don't get too much damage.
MA said…
hi there! hope you are well. Let us know how you hold.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Hey, y'all, I'm back online and thankful to be safe and sound. I'll post later today about my hurricane experience. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and good wishes.
garden girl said…
Glad you're ok! So Sorry your garden suffered.
Lori said…
I'm glad you guys came through the storms safely! And on the bright side, at least you won't have to water for a while. ;D