... and the house was shaking.
This winter, we haven't got much rain so far, but we have had a lot of windy days and nights. Two nights ago, I pulled the blankets over my head, trying to block out the howling of the wind and go to sleep, but it was no good. The noise kept me wide awake, and even worse, I suddenly had this horrible certainty that the house had never shaken like this before, and that next thing I know, we will all find ourselves falling down the side of the hill, among the broken remains of walls and roof.
I felt ashamed about waking my husband, who was sleeping peacefully, but couldn't help it. "I think the house is going to collapse," I told him.
"Relax," he said, "We have had winds like this before."
"But the house had never shaken like this. I'm sure it hasn't. What if the roof is blown away? Maybe we should just grab the children and go?"
"Go back to sleep. You'll see, it will be quieter in the morning."
It was. When I woke, the windows were rattling, but the house was still standing, and it even had its roof on top of it. I went outside to feed the animals. The chicken coop was a disaster. It was secured in its place by thick ropes tied to large rocks, so it didn't topple over, but only barely. The Silkie cage was ruined by the wind, and the birds were walking around the yard, looking surprised at so much freedom, and not coping very well with so much wind. The nesting boxes were scattered over the floor (thankfully no eggs), as well as some boards I have neatly stacked next to the wall.
There are many people who live in houses where they hardly have a notion of the weather outside. Their living space is fully air conditioned; they have another apartment above them rather than a roof, so they might not know if it's raining. They go everywhere by car. Wind doesn't even phase them. But around here, I feel we really live close to the elements. The house doesn't have very good insulation; cold drafts come from the cracks beneath the door. The roof is made of tin, so a rainstorm creates an overwhelming noise; rain, wind and dust often create problems with electricity and internet connection.
Every day of our lives, we tread the earth. We have lots of eggs in spring and summer, and only a little in winter. In the summer I collect figs and carobs, in the autumn olives. Herb plants bloom in spring and attract humming bees. We eagerly await the end of winter and anticipate chick season.
And, though I would very much like a house that is better protected against the weather, and do hope we'll have such a house someday, I believe there is also a priceless lesson in this vulnerability we are currently experiencing. It teaches us that we are not truly in control; it teaches us to make do without what we can't have at the moment (comfy warm bedrooms, internet, electricity, hanging the laundry outside). It teaches us to make the best of what we do have (quiet days, time for working around the house, time off yard work). That is a valuable experience our family will always have, even if in the future we move to a different place.