We dodged a cannonball. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, we had been under the threat of Hurricane Matthew for a number of days. A very large and potentially horrendous storm that could have been disastrous if it moved to the west just a number of miles.

Normal lives stopped and everyone when into survival mode. Making several trips to Publix. I made sure to thank the clerks for being cheerful. People who work retail and in grocery stores will be the last people to see to their own family’s needs and safety. I was able to get provisions for the onslaught of winds and flooding from the St. Johns River that is only three blocks form my home. I was grateful. I tried to convey my appreciation through kind words and wishing to be safe as I went on my way.

As the storm loomed and I and many of my neighbors in our section of a historic neighborhood decided to hunker down to wait out the storm. All regular life stopped. There was down time. There was time to venture out before the storm. I helped some residents shovel sand to make sand bags. In this instant I created a character I called The Dark Fisherman.

The adventures of the Dark Fisherman came to life on my Facebook page. Everyone was glued to the steady stream of updates. I and another neighbor brought some relief to the tedium of the day. The storm maintained a course of just hugging the coast. Newscasters were being diligent in staying on the air but one could see that they were trying to find something to report on as the day wained on.

When the eye wall went north we faced northeast winds that brought down trees. In my area several of the trees fell in the streets. No homes horribly damaged. One ancient magnolia tree one house over from my house came down at 9:30. I felt the tree come down. My trees were safe.

The next day came. Grey clouds dissipating. Sunny and warm in the forecast. We all dodged a cannonball. I was grateful. I was safe, I had electricity, internet, fun food that you don’t normally buy, but only when a hurricane comes to town. I was grateful for my community. I thanked the electric guys who were faced with very long days.

There was a slight bump in the road when out on a walk with my ice coffee cup, the coffee shop was not open. Walking down the street, some friends were on their porch and I received a refill. A truly thankful gift. After a walk through the neighborhood checking on folks, I headed home.

I was greeting with an insistent noise. Not the noise of busy work clearing debris and trees, but the annoying alarm that is heard everywhere even in your own home. The beep beep pause, beep, pause, beep. The tenants evacuated and I do not have their phone number to reach them. I lived with the noise.

Enough was enough. The noise was constant after nearly eight hours. I tried the name the suffering to assuage my discomfort. My mind reeled, “We just came out of a direct hit. Why must my world deal with this constant noise?” The image of the cartoon Grinch popped into my head with his complaint of the Whos down in Whoville and the “noise, noise noise.”

Gratitude? That went out the window, while trying to solve this issue. Quick and borderline furious , pleading texts ensued between, the landlord and a tenant, who asks me, “Is it a wake up alarm or a fire alarm?” In my monkey brain it didn’t matter what kind it was. Just turn it off. Eight hours later, the landlord using a ladder gets into the apartment and after some minutes in the dark, the alarm switching back on and then off. Then total silence.

Silence. Joyful, blissful silence. Gratitude for the peace I now have. “Ah.”

I forget to mention my internet was out. I have electricity, but no internet. I ponder this new issue.

My phone hails me. (I have the Star Trek Hailing frequency for text messages)

My neighbor who is out of power and has lost her one hundred year old tree texts me. “Can I come over to power up my phone and visit?”

Yes, come right over. (Smiley Face) Happy to have the company. Thankful to be gratitude and appreciate my priorities.