Something woke me this morning at 4am. I put on my flannel robe and came downstairs in the dark. It’s been stormy here for the past 24 hours. Sustained winds of 85km/h. Our windows rattled and the sea boiled. But it wasn’t the winds and rain coming from the ocean that were so bad. It was the storm coming from over the mountains east to the sea that really hit us hard. We were battered on all sides for hours.
The house shook nonstop. Like any home in Spain or Portugal, there are metal roll down shutters and Jeff closed them all as some of our outer windows bowed and shook. The furniture on the terrace was swept across and would have flown down the cliff and into the ocean if not for the railing that caught them. Jeff ran outside grabbing them just in time and wrangled them into the sunroom. Our neighbor’s next door were not so lucky. It ripped off their awnings and threw their chaise lounges into the pool and some over the rail. Their front garden was decimated. It rained so hard there was inches of standing water outside.
Our front garden, facing east, was hit hard when we woke up this am. The overgrown pine trees were whipping around yesterday afternoon and Jeff had to lean out one of the bedroom windows to cut some branches to keep them from breaking the windows. Some of the potted trees I brought from the terrace in Valencia were thrown around and broken. I’ll need to repot them when the weather clears.
I now know what it’s like to sit in a house during a tropical storm. You can hear the waves roar. The wind whistle and howl. The rain coming down in torrents. You sit in your house and hope nothing comes flying at you. When we first looked at this house we noticed these big metal doors on the outside of each set of French doors. It seemed like overkill. But after the past 24 hours I think we may use them more than we might have thought.
Back to this morning. Coming down the stairs in the dark. Wishing the weather would leave and sleep would come. Then I looked at the news and my heart sank. Ruth Bader Ginsberg has passed and as I read it I cried. What a lion of the court. What an amazing life of fighting for those who had no political currency. Those who couldn’t fight for themselves. A woman who never saw limitations, just opportunities for justice. She was a master jurist and humanitarian. The world is worse without her.
Somehow it felt appropriate there would be such a huge storm yesterday, the day she left this world. Because The Notorious RBG’s passing has created a storm. A wave of grief, and pledges to fight to continue her legacy. Yesterday, my Overseas Voter ballot for the 2020 election arrived from King Country Washington. Which seems ironic that the election has already started and yet they’ll try to replace her before the election. But I gleefully filled it out, signed it and sent it in. Because in the middle of the storm – weather, political, or human rights – we all must do what we can. And this year, in this moment, what we do counts more than ever. Democracy hangs by a thread. We can never take it for granted again.