Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, November 03, 2017

We are back to the living

Around eight post meridian last night we were sitting by the fire, and the power came on. I nearly cried. We knew there were poles down on our road and we watched the workmen all week for any sign of progress after the big storm ripped, literally, up midcoast. We had hoped for power yesterday as they were making progress, but I had given up once again when it wasn't on by nightfall.

What a haul it's been. It's mainly two things for us: water for the animals, and keeping the food and freezer alive. We are lucky to have Mrs. Revere, our old Garland gas stove/oven so we are never without a way to cook or bake. Ironically, the generator is due in next week-finally, so we will have an easier time next storm with the well and other things.

The romance of an outage is palpable that first night- but it becomes old pretty fast-including one's patience and stamina. I was horribly grumpy. I'd message Martyn during the day-something I really never do unless there is a real reason-but I was saying things like, "I put the house on the market" which of course was a joke. I guess I entertained him and the crew for awhile though.

I was able to get drinking water-barely-the first day-but the shelves were depleted quickly until the next day. Ice galore kept the freezer cold and by the next day I was going the 12 miles one way to a local spring where I could get drinking water. Martyn went and filled 50 gallon containers one night for the animals and that got us though a day and a half. As one woman at the grocery store said on day three, "I'm trying to be a good girl scout but am failing."

By Wednesday I had relinquished my anger and just melted into the situation. Funny how we humans fight circumstances-which takes so much energy-but it's the denial turned to reality that allowed me to move on in a healthier way. I should also mention, the storm that caused all this on Sunday night was probably the fiercest one I've lived though. It was not just a 60 MPH gust followed by heavy wind, it was a constant 60MPH gust through the night. We began to hear things falling and breaking and it went on and on. I lay in bed and would grab Martyn's arm every now and then- I thought of my animals, all tucked into the barns hoping a tree didn't fall. We lost one huge tree that needed to come down anyway and we had put it off since it would cost about $600. That tree politely fell in a way to let us cut it for firewood without doing too much damage to the fence.

Each night there was no television or radio, or checking emails or hearing outside news. We sat by the fire and talked, going to bed early one night, and making puppet shadows another-that was so fun. We all know we are too tied to social media and outer sources, living rurally it is imperative for me as an artist/freelancer to have internet, so I admit I don't like being without it, it is where my money comes from and I'm anxious without it. But a power outage of more than a couple days opens up fresh perspectives on what needs to be done on a normal day. Last week I finally got back into my mojo for painting, but this week was all about collecting water, not at making or writing and I missed both. So now I will reboot.

As I was coming from getting water yesterday, I pulled off one of our roads and stopped to visit one of the many historical cemeteries. I love cemeteries and like to read the names and ages, and say hello to them. Those bodies deeply buried were walking around once, probably went through a lot of Maine storms too. I have been wanting to start visiting cemeteries, so not having powered shifted my perspective enough to simply pull over and take a walk in one I drive by all the time and think, I have to stop in there.

This morning I got up before sunrise to get out to the barns, I wanted to fill large containers with water in case we lost power again, which we still could because so many poles are down. The animals were sleeping. I always feed the pigs first because they are so loud before they get fed, and I opened the stall and I started them out of deep pig sleep,

"Hrumpf? What is going on, it's too early!Who the hell are you, it's dark in here!"

I ventured out in the dark to the outer barn and the sheep were out, but looked at me like I was nuts. I called for Benedetto and he came sheepishly out, is body language told me he at first he might have wondered who I was. He came so slowly up to me, I stood and let him make all the moves as I sensed he really wanted to make sure it was me.

The morning was beautiful. I didn't have my camera and wished I had. But again, getting up at dawn is something I've been wanting to do more of, for photos and just the feeling of seeing the sun rise over the ocean. A pain in the neck experience of living without power reminded me of that, forcing me one morning to finally do it. The conflict is, I really love my bed, and do a lot of thinking in the wee hours after Martyn leaves at 5:30 AM.

The Puppet will be pulling names out of his hat soon-sty tuned!