Thursday, February 13, 2014

Breakin' a Fever

The fever I'm speaking about this morning isn't from a sickness, but from a mental state of mind, which I suppose could be called a sickness - the elusive Cabin Fever.  I've suffered from this ailment before, but through this winter storm, I caught a really bad case.

Much of the United States has experienced wild wintry weather these past couple of weeks.  It was not long ago Atlanta, and most of the state of Georgia, was shut down due to a snowstorm.  We refer to it around here as Snowpocalypse. Just as quick as the storm came, so it went.  But there were a couple days I was stranded and couldn't leave my apartment and I caught a light touch of cabin fever.

Having seen the danger of what could result from being unprepared, the news stations flooded our airwaves, telephones and televisions with warnings and emergency instructions.  I have to say their dire attitude caused a bit of anxiety by using words like "catastrophic".  I had all kinds of fears of freezing to death, not being able to get help, and being stranded all alone.  The media spoke of two waves of danger.  First the Ice Storm of the Century, followed by a massive wave of record-breaking snow fall.  They spoke of all the roads being covered in layers of ice, and the weight of the ice and snow bringing down trees and power lines, plunging 100's of thousands into darkness and cold.  Nah, who's going to worry about such trivial things?  Well, the Ice Storm of the Century hit and it was every bit as thick as they predicted.

While the world lay covered in a glistening wonderland, I feared for my safety. In preparation, I pre-cooked a couple meals, blocked myself into my back bedroom, and stocked it with extra blankets and emergency items in case the power went out.  It was so cozy I hated leaving its warmth to rush to the bathroom or grab something from the kitchen. I made the mad dash mostly because I didn't want any of the heat escaping in case I lost power.  I still had 24-48 hours I knew I was going to be stuck, and I needed to preserve all the warmth I could. 

Needless to say, my fears had me more than I wanted to admit. I tried and tried to read and edit the various projects I've been working on, and thinking I didn't have to go to work for a couple days, I'd get ahead, but I couldn't concentrate.  I'd read the same chapter over and over, but hearing tree branches snap and crash outside my window, and my lights flicker on and off, I just couldn't concentrate.  Then, I received a huge scare when my soon-to-be new upstairs neighbor showed up and his footsteps above broke that thin line of bravery I had desperately clung.  I almost had a panic attack thinking someone broke into the house.  I felt relieved to see my housemate, because I knew that if a catastrophe struck as all the newsmen predicted, I would at least not be alone. Someone would know where to find me body. I felt so relieved, I cooked him one of my favorite gourmet meals.

My housemate left that evening in his 4-wheel drive in the lull between phase 1 and phase 2 of Ice Storm/Snowmaggedon 2014, and I was once again plunged into silence and uncertainty.  I barricaded and braced for the second wave to hit.  I tried to do anything that would take my mind off the unimaginable horrors of abandonment, falling trees, and broken power lines with no way to escape. Though I was once again isolated, I was never alone during this whole ordeal.  My best friends were with me through texting, sending me instant messages and silly stickers, bitstrips, sharing pictures and video chatting.  They may have been in different parts of the country and unable to help should one of these foretold catastrophes actually occur, but they helped to keep me calm, let me know I'm wasn't truly alone, and that there are really people in this world who do care about me and my safety. I fell asleep without worry or concern.

 I woke the next morning to a winter wonderland.  After a quick 7 am hike and taking a few photos of the fallen trees and snow cover, I slipped back beneath the covers and slept some more.  This was the most sleep I've had in a couple months.

When I woke a couple hours later and got dressed, I looked out expecting to see the snow gates to  my proverbial prison, but instead saw glorious sunshine.  You talk about getting excited.  I couldn't wait to get outside and hike among the melting snow and ice and feel the warmth of the beautiful sun on my face. I nearly skipped the whole time with a HUGE, huge, HUGE smile on my face.
I got so excited, shrugging off this bad case of cabin fever,  I called work and asked if they were open.  So, enjoy these next few photos, and thank you for letting me share my experience with you. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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