Friday Faves Edition 32

Friday Faves – Edition 32

It’s Friday!

Time for a weekly round-up of some of my faves from the week.

In last Friday’s post, I mentioned finding the scene settings on my Sony Alpha 7 II.

Miss Sunshine had a game the next day, so I was able to put it to use.

 

I do love being able to freeze action shots. When I scroll through a series, it’s like looking at a flip book. Each picture a slight movement forward, capturing the essence of the play. There was a series that I loved of Miss Sunshine where she’s chasing down a ball. She starts the series of shots well behind the other player chasing down the ball. Over the course of 6 or 8 photos, you can see her catch-up and pass the defender, steadily putting space between them. Unfortunately, the goalie gets to ball, but I love being able to watch her turn on her speed.

I chose this shot to share because I like how Miss Sunshine (in the white) and the other player are frozen in this fight for possession of the ball.

Also, look at the background! Sometimes when I’m pining for my hometown Floridian roots, I forget that Virginia is a gorgeous place.

Of course nature does whatever she wants, but today is the first day of autumn. Some of the higher elevations are beginning to see color changes. As we progress into the season, that mountain will begin to be filled with yellow and reds, a spectacle of color.

Miss Sunshine has to be early to the fields for warm-ups. This leaves me time to wander around with my camera before games. I haven’t been on many outings recently and my nearby views had left me uninspired. I was beginning to wonder where my photographic passion had hidden itself. Wondering if my eye for the beauty in the simplicity had went on hiatus.

But I found it again that day. I have some photos that I’m still processing, but wanted to share this series where I was working with aperture (how much I wanted in focus).

The series was taken with my Sony Alpha 7 II with the Sony FE 3.8-5.6/28-70mm lens. This is the only lens I have at this time. I’m hoping to add a 50 mm/1.8 and a longer zoom, but am still working through which brand I want. The Sony lenses are pricier than other options and there are adaptors that make using other brands possible.

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/14

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/3.5

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/22


Which do you prefer?

I took these shots handheld, so the differences between f/14 and f/22 may have been more pronounced had I used a tripod.  However, the water and the log are more in focus on the f/22.

On Sunday, we decided to have an outing down at the Greenway. Roanoke has a great Greenway, quite a bit of which runs along the Roanoke River. Miss Sunshine likes to take Maverick to play because she wants him to have a love for water.

Speaking of Maverick….

 

 

He finished Beginner dog training!

This is the first dog that we’ve ever taken for training. Our original goal was for the socialization. He was frightened by other dogs when we first brought him home. By the end of this 6 weeks, he was wanting to be friends with them all. He was in love with a little maltese named April. Every week he was so excited to get to go visit her.

Oh… and he learned sit, leave it, loose leash walking, shake, come when called…amongst some other things.

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Most of my week was filled with what I do…. mom-ing.

Miss Sunshine has soccer practice twice a week, physical therapy twice a week, games… Big Mister had a consultation with the oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal… I fed people…I washed their clothes…I signed my name on school papers…I handed out money from the bank of mom…

And somewhere in there, I found time to get to Pilates, to train myself to run, edit some photos, and write some words.

Some weeks I wonder where all the hours went. This was one of those weeks.

Is it just me, or do you ever have weeks like that?


 

I’ve been enjoying the recommendations in music from YouTube. I’ve found bands or artists that I might not otherwise have discovered. That’s the case for my song choice this week. Tom Walker’s hometown is Manchester, U.K.  I did google him and discovered that he’s actually about to tour the United States.  He’s going to be on tour with The Script. He’ll be in Charlotte, NC, which would have been a doable journey…if I wasn’t still raising children. Unfortunately, it’s on a weeknight and late enough that it would require an overnight. Oh well, maybe hearing him live should be an excuse for a future trip back to the U.K.

Hmmm…

 

I hope that you all are enjoying this first day of Autumn and that your weekend is filled color.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

The Elephant House Edinburgh Scotland

The Elephant House – Edinburgh Scotland

If you are a Harry Potter fan, then it’s likely that you’ve heard about The Elephant House. Touted as “The Birthplace of Harry Potter”, it is said that J.K. Rowling penned some of her works here.

Here’s my disclaimer. Prior to planning a trip to Scotland, I’d never watched all any of the Harry Potter movies. Sure, I’d seen bits and pieces. I’d even been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because we had annual passes to Universal Studios when I lived in Florida. I was knee deep in babies and toddlers when the first movie came out. I didn’t have time to brush my hair, much less watch a movie. Then I didn’t want to see them out of order…time passed…and the. I was going to head to Scotland.

So I binge watched the entire set of movies…and started reading the first book on my plane ride to Edinburgh.

As I perused “must-see” places in Edinburgh, The Elephant House (a gourmet coffee and tea shop) made the list.

I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so we decided to head there one evening, for dessert. We were coming from a dinner down in the Grassmarket. By the time we got the coffee and tea shop, located at 21 George IV Bridge, it was close to closing time. We weren’t sure if we were too late, but they seated us for dessert.

The menu had a good selection of drinks and tasty sweets. My mom opted for the hot chocolate. I went with a hot chocolate that had Bailey’s Irish Creme.

Everyone said they were yum. Overly sweet drinks and I don’t mesh, so I should have gone with coffee or tea. I paired my drink with a decadent slice of red velvet cake.

In a place called The Elephant House, you would expect a Elephant motif. And it did not disappoint. We ended up at this cool table in the back of the restaurant that had this amazing chair.

There really is a view of Edinburgh Castle out the window.

I can definitely see the appeal of sitting here and writing over a nice, warm drink.

Of course one of the things that I heard about was the graffitied bathrooms.

I don’t really take bathroom photos, but snagged this one because there are traces of “ginger” in our family. In fact, while Mr. D’s hair has become a shade of reddish-brown, it was very red when he was born.

On our return to Edinburgh (after Glasgow) I went back to get some photos in the daylight.

We did the bus tour in Edinburgh, on which it was mentioned that many places claim Harry Potter fame, but that only The Spoon Cafe was given a plaque.

That was okay. I didn’t visit The Elephant House because I am a hardcore Potter fan.

I visited because I take inspiration in a woman who poured out her ideas, her words, her imaginations…who created…who took a chance.

It makes me want to be more fearless.

To take chances.

To create.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves – Edition 31

Friday.

This week has been a blur. If you read my post on Monday then you know that my family in Naples was affected by Hurricane Irma, but that they are all safe.

I don’t spend much time on my personal Facebook page. When I do visit it, I usually catch up on people’s lives in a stalker-ish type of way.  I don’t always have anything to add, so my comments are infrequent and I rarely fill in the “what’s on your mind?” box to add to my page. That has been completely different this week. I have been the relayer of updates on my family to the rest of the extended family. I have shared information about local resources so that those who do have internet are able to know where to find them. I have checked updates of others to be sure they made it through the storm safely.

I have heard from friends who had to take turns holding the door so that the wind did not blow it in. I have cousins and friends who have waited 3-4 hours in line for gas. I have seen photos of the devastation. Photos from Naples…streets I have walked on. Photos from Immokalee … the town I graduated high school from. Photos of lives ripped apart.

Yet, I have also been privy to hear of the kindnesses and compassions that have taken place in the wake of devastation.


 

I mentioned that I did not attend Miss Sunshine’s game last Sunday. However, I did attend her game in Lynchburg that Saturday.

Normally, this is not a photo that I would share because the ball and hands aren’t in focus. I know that some people like that movement in their shots, but that would not have been my preference for this photo.  Even if I had frozen the shot in focus, I would have known that this is right at the throw by the fact that her foot is being dragged. [Handy hint if you don’t know soccer…futbol…both feet must stay on the ground during a thrown-in. This action gives you more oomph.]

I’m sharing the photo because I finally took the time to learn something new about my camera because I was frustrated by this shot. I am still working on learning how things work on manual and aperture priority modes, so when I can’t practice (such as for a game) I’ve been relying on Auto mode.

My Nikon had a handy-dandy action setting right on the top knob. On that setting, the shutter speed was always quick enough to freeze movement. On Auto mode, my Sony Alpha 7II, captured this photo at: ISO 100, f/11, 1/250… too slow of a shutter speed. I did know the Sony had a scene selection (the SCN setting on the top control knob), I just didn’t know how to change it.  Once on it, you press the menu button and under the camera tab you can find scene selection (mine was on page 7). Ta-da! Now I need some more action shots…good thing Miss Sunshine has a soccer game tomorrow.

 

I mentioned earlier in the week that I often pick up movies at the library. These were a couple that we recently watched.

Have you seen either of them? What did you think?

Wales is a place that my heart has always been drawn to and that I hope to get to visit, so I found the landscape scenes in King Arthur to be entrancing. As far as The Zookeeper’s Wife, I love movies based on true stories about people who did brave things.

Yay…me! In case you missed Tuesday’s postI turned the Big 4-0 on the 12th. We decided to have a family dinner at Outback and then came back home for cake.

I was sooooo stuffed, but it was all sooooo good.

My parents had already sent me presents in the mail which I saved to open on my actual birthday. I love this bracelet and they also sent a wine glass that says the same thing.

I like that…aged to perfection.

 

 

The last time I went home was Memorial Day. I flew in to meet my mom and aunt before we drove to Miami the next day to fly to Scotland. I spent most of my brief time in Naples visiting all my family, but I wanted to see the beach. All the beaches were packed, not a parking spot in sight, so my mom dropped me off at my favorite beach, Lowdermilk Park, and drove around while I breathed in the heavy scent of salt upon the air and snapped a couple of photos. Today, my hometown still weighs heavy on my heart. My parents are clearing debris and traveling into the city to assess damage to my Papa's home while he remains in a rehab facility…my brother will need to replace his roof…aunts and uncles have sustained some minor damage. But they are all safe and that is what matters. My heart goes out to those who no longer have a place to lay their head. I know the community is and will continue to come together…because that's what they do…that's who they are… #CollierStrong . . . .#visitflorida #roamtheplanet #roamflorida #pocket_beaches #ihavethisthingwithcolor #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #optoutside #theoutdoorfolk #theglobewanderer #fromwhereistand #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #darlingescapes #passportready #letsgosomewhere #traveldiaries #travelstoke #liveauthentic #lifeofadventure #modernoutdoors #ladiesgoneglobal #natureaddict #naturehippys #visualsoflife #exploretocreate #sonyalpha #seekthesimplicity #floridastrong

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Stress has consumed much of my week. Sometimes I let it paralyze me, but I finally got back into the gym on Wednesday and once again started tackling my mile long to-do list.

I was in Florida for Hurricane Wilma. It feels strange to be away from my family as they move through this cleanup process after Hurricane Irma.

The song I chose this week is by the band Broods. They are out of New Zealand and I like their music. I chose this specific song because…my parents were the beginnings of the formation of this woman who is still discovering…still growing…still evolving.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend.

Fall is on the march here in Southwest Virginia. Leaves are beginning to change. The sun’s not sure he wants to cooperate with cooler weather, but I still plan to get out and walk amongst the trees.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Doors of Amsterdam

Doors of Amsterdam

Doors.

Keepers of mysteries.

Releasers into the great unknown.

As I walked along the streets of Amsterdam, some doors would catch my eye. Whether it was the door itself or the architecture surrounding.

I am a village boy, and Amsterdam for me was always the big town.

| Anton Corbijn

A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.

| Vincent Van Gogh

It is better to fail with your own vision than to fail with another man’s vision.

| Johan Cruijff

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

| Corrie Ten Boom

A work is finished when the artist realizes his intentions.

| Rembrandt

 


For more doors from around the world be sure to check out Thursday Doors with the surprise guest host this week.

Quotes this week are from the Dutch who spoke them.

….except Winnie the Pooh

…but… the photo is Amsterdam…and c’mon, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet are beacons of wisdom.

I didn’t write down the street names as I captured these doors, but if you know where they are feel free to shout it out in the comments!

Life is a journey to be experience, not a problem to be solved. -Winnie the Pooh

Let your light shine!

Amy

Behind the Lens - This is 40

Behind the Lens – This is 40

September 12, 1977.

2:41 p.m.

Naples Community Hospital, Naples, Florida, USA.

That would be the moment when I would make my grand entrance into this world.

Today…

I am 40.

This age that felt so ancient in the days of my youth. This age that feels so young now that I am standing here.

Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc on my hometown. I shared my thoughts from the other side of the storm in yesterday’s post. For as long as I can remember my mother has sang me “Happy Birthday” today. When I became a young woman and left the folds of her nest, she would call and begin singing as soon as I said “Hello?”. I wondered about today…would this day…this milestone in my life…be the one exception?

It was not.

She found a signal on her drive into the city and sang to me on this special day of mine.

Me.

I am a fan of being behind my lens.

Time has tried to steal my comfort with the aging process.

So today, I am sharing a series of photos taken of me behind the lens. Photos taken by my mother and my husband. Photos that I’m often not aware of until a later time. Photos of me feeling confident and strong as I learn to share what my eyes see through the lens of my camera. Photos taken by people who love me and believe in me even when I do not believe in myself. Photos of me as I press outside of my comfort zone…as I grow…as I learn who I am outside of wife…mother…daughter…sister…friend. Photos taken over this past year or so as I marched toward this day…this milestone…this moment of 40.

 

One of my happy places. River Palm Cottages | Jensen Beach, Florida.

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this older post of mine.

On an excursion off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Niagara Dam | Roanoke, Virginia.

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

A successful hiking day. Dragon’s Tooth | Catawba, Virginia

Hiking Dragon’s Tooth. | Catawba, Virginia

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

 

Every step…every decision…has brought me to this point…today I step into my 40's…stronger…more confident…and more resilient than I have ever been . .This is one of my favorite photos of me in front of a camera. It was taken, unbeknownst to me, by my husband during a visit to the Taubman on an outing in downtown Roanoke to celebrate our anniversary in April 2016 . . .#thisis40 #seekthesimplicity #theglobewanderer #roamtheplanet #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #LoveVA #virginiacities #blueridgeday #darlingescapes #abmlifeiscolorful #ihavethisthingwithcolor #lifeofadventure #liveauthentic #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #travelstoke #traveldiaries #thehappynow #fromwhereistand #exploretocreate #visualsoflife #welivetoexplore #exploremore #lifestyleblogger #letsgosomewhere #ipulledoverforthis #itsamazingoutthere #ladiesgoneglobal #suitcasetravels

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A brief foray into Notre Dame. | Paris, France.

Miss Sunshine was very ill this day. Our visit brief. I haven’t shared the photos from the other of side of the lens as of yet. If you’d like to see a few of my photos from Paris you can check out this post.

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Another beautiful place to see.  Palace of Versailles | Versailles, France.

To see the palace from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

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One of my favorite places at the Palace of Versailles was the Hamlet of Marie Antionette. | Versailles, France.

So far, I’ve only shared photos of the Hamlet on Instagram, but if you’d like to see more of the Palace from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

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Taking photos of the Eiffel Tower. | Paris, France

This was a walk-by opportunity only, for a shot from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

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Walking amongst Scotland’s history. Stirling Castle. | Stirling, Scotland.

To see the castle from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

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Atop the roof of Princes Street Suites. | Edinburgh, Scotland

I’ve not shared about the actual hotel, but I’ve shared numerous photos from the other side of the lens about my travels to Scotland. To see some of Edinburgh from the other side of the lens, check out this post and this post

To see more from Scotland, use the search tool on the home page. Hint: there’s quite a few from Glasgow as well.

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My last outing. End of summer. | Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

To see a few shots from the other side of the lens, check out this post. If you’re looking for the sunset, you can find of those in this post or on Instagram.

If hope that you’ve enjoyed a little walk behind this lens with me.

I’m off to see what 40 has in store for me.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Hurricane Irma Upate

Hurricane Irma Update

Hurricane Irma is still on the march.

But she has passed by Naples.

And she has left her ugly mark.

I know that some of you may stop by my blog today to see how my family fared. My heart has been moved by the words of concern I have received… here, on Facebook, on Instagram… so before I go any further along… I will share… they are safe.

Writing is one of the ways that I process my feelings. It’s the reason I started this blog. And so process, I will. If you’d like to come along with me as I record my thoughts from my side of the storm…keep reading.

 

Hurricane Irma.

From the beginning, I’ve been worried. This storm was big and angry. But I have a tendency to worry, so I tried to keep it at bay. That’s not to say I didn’t let my opinions be known. I just knew when to push and went to stop. It’s a delicate dance. I knew who to plead with and how hard to plead. I knew the reasons that went into the hard decisions. Reasons that, unless someone has made you privy to theirs, you have no right as an outsider to question and spew hatred about. Something I see done over and over and in such a disgusting manner and in such a public space.

On Sunday, I opted not to go to Miss Sunshine’s soccer game in Blacksburg. The continued westward shift made it appear that after it crossed the Keys, it would head right towards Naples. I couldn’t take a chance on missing a call. My mother and I exchanged calls off and on throughout the day. The winds were picking up, but it still wasn’t too bad. In a later call, the winds were stronger. The palm trees were shaking. The ground too saturated. Dad had parked his truck near the house. He might need to move it. The tree wasn’t going to stay upright. I felt helpless. I was going crazy in my skin. I am a stress eater. I am prone to anxiety. I imagine worst-case scenarios. I needed to find something else to do. I decided to run to the library and pick up some movies. Anything to feel like I was doing something.

I get there and find some movies. I am perusing through a few more. I come across a movie called Rules Don’t Apply. I am wondering if this is synchronicity.

The night before I had just finished reading the memoir the rules don’t apply by Ariel Levy. A book that I chanced upon in the new book section. Its inside cover had sounded intriguing. I finished the memoir in two days. I do not review books. I cannot tell you if this would be your cup of tea. I can only tell you that she takes you right along the journey with her. I feel like I am standing there seeing what she sees, feeling what she feels.  Perhaps this is my INFP personality… this ability to become immersed into a storyline.  Nothing like anything I have lived. But hers is a real storyline. A tragic one.

So I turn the movie case over to read the description. To see if perhaps there is this glimmer of reason that I have stumbled across this particular movie…and my phone rings. I know some people talk on the phone in the library.  The rules seemed to have changed within my lifetime, but I do not take calls in the library (in fact, my phone is typically on vibrate) or in lines to pay a cashier. I cannot miss this call. I race towards the coffee shop area of the library where talking is acceptable. I don’t know if I can take unchecked items through, so I dip down by the doorway separating the two and answer in a hushed voice. My mother asks if I am okay. I see the irony. My mom…asking if I’m okay…as she’s going through the outer bands of a hurricane. I tell her that I am and she asks if I’ve seen the text she just sent. I haven’t. She says to look at it and call her back. I go to the checkout desk and while the librarian is retrieving the movies, I look at the text.

My dad was able to secure the palm so that as it uprooted, it wouldn’t take out the power line. I am hopeful that this is as bad as it will become.

I call her on my way back to the house. I am worried about the roof. It is gabled. She says that the gables are boarded. This eases my panic… some.

She sends me a text that says the news says they are going to get the worst of the storm. PRAY. Seeing that word in caps makes the tears that I have been holding back spill over. I am frightened. I know that my mom is afraid. I cannot crawl into that space into my mind. That space of raw fear. I know raw fear. I know driving across the State of Florida late at night after your firstborn child has been medflighted to a trauma hospital fear.

But that turned out okay. This has to turn out okay. The part of the memoir that most resonated with me was her thought that nothing bad could ever actually happen to her in “her movie” because she was the protagonist. I am wondering if I will reach the moment in “my movie” where my role as protagonist no longer means that everything turns out okay. I cannot dwell in that space. I am sending out updates to friends and family. I am calling my mom to tell her what is being said on The Weather Channel. I am wishing they’d talk about Naples instead of Miami. Marco Island…Naples..that’s getting this current impact.

They are in Naples. I am watching the weatherman brace against the storm. 95 mph sustained winds. 142 mph recorded gust. I know the plaza he is standing in. I know those tree lined medians. They are saying it’s much worse to the East of him. My family is to the East of him.

The calm comes in.

I call my mom again.

She says that it is getting bad. That the house is beginning to buck. She means that the bands are strong. The house is heaving and groaning as wind comes whipping around it.

Compress…compress…

I am thinking they must be close to through it. My dad is trying to tell me the bearings of the radar map.

I am willing the TV channel to zoom in so I can see more roads.

And then The Weather Channel zooms in on the radar and I see it…

They are not almost through it. They are East of Orangtree. Orangetree, the subdivision that was nothing more than a pasture filled with cows when I was young. They are in the red. I tell my dad that the Northeast band of the eye wall is over them right now. He is not surprised. The wind is howling. The house is crying. I am panicked. How long? How long will it last? They want to know. I have no answers. The TV isn’t saying anything. They’ve mentally moved on to Jim Cantore in Estero. I tell my parents that it lasted about 45 minutes in the city, but that the eye is eroding. I tell them that there will likely be no calm, only a slightly lessening wind. They need to relay the information to my brother. We hang up.

Over and over in my mind, the scenes from Twister are racing through my mind. This isn’t a tornado, but it is fierce circular wind. I know hurricanes. I know how they sound howling through the trees. I am praying fiercely that the old wooden house doesn’t decide that it is tired and has given all it can. Protect my family. I know that they will ride  out this eye wall in the hallway. I know that hallway. That hallway that my feet have walked along since I was seven. A long, narrow corridor, just wide enough for a child to reach out and run a hand alongside each wall. Something my brother and I were taught not to do. I know which doorway leads to which room…what photos hang along the way. I imagine them there…safe. Protect my family.

I think the eye has surely reached them. But I cannot get through. A cell tower is down.

I feel in the pit of my being that they are safe. There may be damage, but I know they are alive. Surely I would know if they were not. The fact that life doesn’t always have a happy ending threatens to undo me, but I suppress it.

I worry about whether or not I said all I wanted to say. I think about my Grandma. About how she was dying when I moved to Virginia. About how I thought about going back one last time to visit. But I knew she’d want me to settle my family. Yet, sometimes I wish I’d just gotten on the damn plane and returned home once more. I don’t want this to be like that. I don’t want to think about the what-if’s. But they creep in.

I ask my husband what will I do if I haven’t heard from them by my birthday (I turn 40 tomorrow…the 12th). Every year, my mother calls me first thing in the morning and sings me “Happy Birthday”. It doesn’t seem right that on this milestone it won’t happen. He has no answer for me. I like answers. I am a person who is always seeking answers.  As a child, during movies, I would ask my mother over and over…. “that didn’t really happen, right?” “that’s just pretend”. I still find myself biting my tongue (and sometimes failing) wanting to know the answer to a question in a movie. Usually when I fail, I’m met with “you know as much as me, Amy.” But do I? Maybe you caught something I missed. Some integral piece that gives me the answer that I want to know. I don’t like this waiting. This helplessness. I need to know they have survived.

Eventually we go to bed. Monday is another day in this world I now live in. This world away from destruction. After an entire lifetime in Florida, being gone for four years has lessened the surreal feelings I have when my home, my Florida, is under threat.. but it hasn’t completely removed them.

My phone rings. I am startled awake. My adrenaline starts racing. My phone would only ring if somebody has checked on my family. I lift my phone. It reads 12:12 a.m. The number is my dad.  In the middle of the night, the air out there picks up signals from much farther away. When I was a child, on a clear night, we could listen to radio stations many cities away. I am certain that if he has managed to get through despite the downed cell tower, that the moments will be precious. He is surprised that the call has made it.  They have been trying for about three hours. My mother has stood on chairs trying to hold her phone to places where she might receive a glimmer of a signal.

He says they are all safe. He tells me that it was bad. In that moment, thoughts are racing through my head. I am hanging on this thread between reality and dream-state, having just been awakened. I am thinking that maybe the house did fall down around them. He says that the houses are fine. He tells me that it was like nothing he’s ever been through in his life. That it was way worse than Wilma.  They are telling me about the floorboards rumbling. Somebody, I think it was my brother, said it felt like the plucking of guitar strings below his feet as the bands of wind went by. That it never let up. 45 minutes…an hour…unrelenting.

I think about how it must feel to be in a petrified state of fear for an hour straight. Counting down the time. Praying for the wind to cease. Willing your house to stay together. To protect you. It makes my stomach hurt.

He tells me part of one shop is gone. It’s hard to hear. Is it just the wall? The roof? I know this shop. I ran a 4-wheeler into the side of it when I was 15. I came up the driveway with the throttle wide open, my favorite way to ride. But then it wasn’t stopping. The shop approaching way too fast. I claimed the brakes didn’t work. I still maintain that.

He says a truss from the other shop has been ripped away and thrown some ways into the yard. I’m pretty sure that he says that attached to the truss is a car frame that had been placed in the rafters of the shop. Miss Sunshine and I just watched Sweet Home Alabama the night before and I am envisioning the grandfather shooting anvils from a cannon. I am wondering if this is what their yard looks like. This yard that I trod upon as a barefoot child and teen. This yard that I laid upon as I watched the clouds race by. The one in which I counted stars and imagined faces in the Harvest moon. They are telling me about uprooted trees. I think my mom is telling me about losing one that she likes so much. The call is breaking up. She repeats it. I still cannot tell what she is saying because it is breaking up. They tell me that they can hear me fine, so I tell them about the hotspots that they should be able to get to the next day.

We hang up. I am relieved that all are safe.

After telling everyone through Facebook that they are all okay, I collapse into bed and have a fitful night of strange dreams and long periods of being awake.

My mom gets a short call through to me today. The hotspots don’t work. Orangetree had 130-135 mph sustained winds. There were 142 mph gusts. The area is a mess. The call fails before I can hear more.

Now begins the process of cleaning up.  My family is resilient. Florida is resilient.

They will emerge even stronger.

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!

Amy