“Being Still…Doing Nothing…are Two Different Things”

Dear Reader:

It is over. Dorian has come and gone. Was there a lesson in it all? I think so…straight from the words of our beloved Armand Gamache’s mouth…“There is a difference between being still and doing nothing.”

When the power went off early Thursday morning…semi-darkness descended in the house…heavy dark clouds, bursts of torrential rains and banshee winds whose screams sounded eerily human surrounded “Boo’s Blessings.”

I wrapped up in “pinkie”… feeling completely immobile. All that could be done had been done…it was Mother Nature’s time to show us her “stuff” and it was frankly pretty spectacular.

As I sat in the darkening “Happy Room” with only the sounds of wind and rain pounding against the windows…I found myself mesmerized at the sights and sounds of Dorian. “Being still” as just an observer of life and nature is such a rarity but also quite magical. I crowded more serene feelings into Thursday amid the tropical storm …until I  finally understood the difference in stillness over nothingness.

There is a definite reason why scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” It doesn’t say “Do nothing and know that I am God.”

Strangely I felt little fear overall…(but must admit to jumping every time a branch or especially a pine cone hit the roof…it sounded like a grenade or especially an acorn hitting the top of one’s car. (POW!)

As darkness descended I fell asleep quite easily and very early for me…by 9:oo. I  finished “A Better Man” with the book in one hand and the flashlight in the other. *Gamache made me feel very protected the ‘night of Dorian.’

The storm’s intensity was strangely more potent farther from the coast, in some circumstances, than closer…such was the case with Summerville’s relationship to the storm.

All three of my children live in the Mt. Pleasant area of Charleston… closest to the beaches and none of them lost power…even more family… who live on Isle of Palms… fared remarkably well. Much of Summerville lost its power and down trees were visible all over town.

This was the problem on our street… my next-door-neighbor’s tree fell across Rainbow Road taking out a transformer and crashing into other trees and electric lines…wrapping itself up in one big tangle “cat” ball. Our street was without power about a day and a half. Very lucky!

The problem took three crews of men/trucks to sort it all out. But happily it got done. With temps returning to the 90’s this week…the sound of the air-conditioner clicking back on yesterday afternoon was the sweetest sound of all. (Oops…did I forget the fridge too?)

Remember how it was only the day before the storm that I showed you a picture of the Rainbow street sign…what a difference a day makes.

The best thing about the storm was the gathering of neighbors…outside on the streets to talk and share stories of the storm as we waited on the power to return. In our daily lives many of us speak as we pass each other in the car but now we really talked and swapped pictures…I hate to think it takes a storm and freedom from electric power to run our televisions, computers, and gadgets to communicate …but it really does.

Julie Hucks, my neighbor whose house would have been split in two if the tall pine tree had swayed a little more right, said the same thing to me when she sent me some pictures…about the fun of the neighborhood gathering and all the excitement watching the Dominion workers take on this big project just for us…

All the excitement ends with us having air condition. (Julie)

“Overall I had a pretty good time through out all this, which I hate to say because this storm brought so much devastation elsewhere! We were blessed to only have some trees come down. The camaraderie made up for it,  Life is good.” (Julie)

So until tomorrow…For me…as soon as I put up my “Boo’s Blessing” sign…even before returning the plants to the porch…I felt such an abundance of gratitude fill me…My home was still intact and  more loved than ever!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Upon reflection Sammy the Cardinal and I share a lot of similar problems…including this problem with his hair or lack of…maybe he has had too many chemo pills too…he was the first to return yesterday after I put the filled suet bird feeder back up. Missed you Sammy….glad you made it through the storm safely…(though he did look skinny…think he was really hungry.)

H O P E survived…but then we knew it would didn’t we? A beautiful moon decorated the night sky last evening…life is wonderful!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to “Being Still…Doing Nothing…are Two Different Things”

  1. bcparkison says:

    There is peace after a storm even when the is a mess to clean up.So thankful it is over for you
    .ps. is the quote from A Better Man?


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Yes it is a direct quote from the book….I spent the storm as previously mentioned with a flashlight and Armand…”A Better Man” during the storm because his courage is contagious and his wisdom amazing. I had purposefully saved the last few chapters until Dorian hit…it was the perfect setting to “weather” the storm. Like Anne said…at the conclusion of Penny’s latest novel in the series…Armand did not become bitter but better…in fact he ended up the best! (But then we already knew that!)


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