If you live in or near Toronto – or you don’t, but you know of Toronto, or you can pronounce the word Toronto – then you may be aware that we recently experienced what weather experts are calling a “once-every-hundred-years” phenomenon.
In layman’s terms: We were drenched. In just a couple of hours on Monday, we got more rain than we’d received in the entire day, ever. In fact, we collected more rain during rush hour than we normally get in the whole month of July.
What did that mean for those millions of us who live here? Spin the roulette wheel and take your pick: power failures, flooded basements, washed-out roads, evacuated homes, phone outages, stalled transit, swamped vehicles, trapped train commuters, damage to house and yard. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has experienced loss in some form or another. And yet they’ll tell you, too, of the kindness they witnessed amid the devastation, the neighbours, friends and families who helped each other. I’m not hearing tales of woe. Instead, what I keep hearing is: “We were lucky.”
We were lucky. Our basement – not known for being impervious – wept somewhat during the worst of the downpour, but it was a slow leak that was easily contained with towels. Same with the rainwater that washed in under the front door. Our power was out for over 40 hours, leaving us with no means to operate my husband’s essential disability equipment. But we were able to literally recharge our batteries (and have a rewarding doggy visit) at a family member’s home. We had no A/C, but the weather was pleasant (fickle as it is). We threw away hundreds of dollars’ worth of perishable food, but we had great fun sharing a meal with neighbours, eating some stuff up before it spoiled.
And we were safe. We checked on folks in our community, and they checked on us. We fielded calls, texts and emails from people farther away who cared. I had the best coffee I’ve tasted in a long time, thanks to the neighbour who brewed it for me in the camper-trailer in her driveway. (Incidentally, I also had the worst coffee I’ve tasted in a long time, thanks to the enterprising local café that did the best it could with a gas burner and candlelight.)
Events like these remind us that in case of disaster, we have each other covered. We will pitch in. We will come through.
It’s a comfortable way to weather any kind of storm.