Quite an array of weather conditions we experienced Thursday night, don't you think?
I was at an end-of-season, EBSA Farm League baseball game at James Park when the lightning siren went off. Teams throughout the park went inside for 20 minutes until the skies were deemed safe. We mobilized and got back outside, only to hear more sirens. At that point, the coaches agreed to forfeit; the end-of-season pizza and cupcakes came out just as the skies turned dark. After a few heartfelt words from our coaches, we took a chance and walked over to the base of Mt. Trashmore for the Starlight Concert which was a ton of fun and well attended (I'll upload video as soon as my house has power). The entertainment was supplied by Mucca Pazza, which reminded me of a hip high school marching band with funk and soul. Still, after a matter of minutes, the skies went from blustery to black, and the crowd scattered. The band played on, even while little kids screamed and cried watching lightning flash horizontally across the sky. The band played on, even while parents (like me) screamed, "Get down from the hill. NOW! We have to LEAVE!" The cymbal player was nearly horizontal as the wind slammed the stage, yet the band played on while the frantic audience gathered up blankets and coolers and children.
I kept thinking of the little quartet playing on the Titanic as the passengers scrambled and screamed all around.
We drove home but had trouble navigating a sizable chunk of tree lying in the middle of Greenleaf Avenue. Within minutes, neighbors -- and amazing non-neighbors -- pitched in to chop and saw and hoist that chunk of tree until the road was clear enough for emergency vehicles to pass...
Without power, we sat on the front porch with candles and flashlights and neighbors, trying to make the most of our dark, exciting evening in Evanston.
Later, as I read a nightime story to my frightened youngest son in the dark of his room (enhanced by candlelight, thanks to a lack of power), I was thankful for the moment, the snapshot of time when he couldn't rely on the videogames or the TV or the internet or even wrestling with his older brother for comfort. All he had was the comfort of Mom in the dark. I held him close, his little arms against me; they felt like soft water balloons. Those arms clung tight, then looser, looser, looser until sleep finally came as I read story after story by candlelight.
As a mother, it was a magical night. I may never get a night like this again. The skies over Evanston brought us closer, and for that, I will be forever grateful.