Heather Moore

“You can’t get on and you can’t get off.”

That sums it up on PEI Saturday and Sunday. Ferries were secured to the wharf; flights both in and out were cancelled and the Confederation Bridge, as of 8:26 pm Saturday, was closed to all traffic (not that anyone would want to drive across it in those gale winds).

Prince Edward Island was isolated - shut off from the world and in the dark. Our woes weaken however, compared to all those poor people living in the Bahamas.

That’s not to say though that we have no right to grumble - perhaps just a little. After all the weather, both good and bad, is our number one favourite topic of conversation.

And talk about it on the weekend we did. The headline theme was naturally widespread power outages

Now Islanders are often as quick to condemn Maritime Electric as they are to praise them. That’s dependent of course on whether or not their water is running and they can actually see it running after dark.

But something happens on PEI after darkness falls and the simple flick of a light switch produces little more than resignation that it could be a long wait this time.

While scouring the region for storm damage photos on Sunday the offerings of help from neighbour to neighbour, and stranger to stranger were awe-inspiring.

In Murray Harbour, EMO volunteers sprung to action at 6 am. The village’s community centre was opened, bread popped into toasters and hot water prepared for tea and coffee. They knew people would be hungry, bored and perhaps chilly.

Dozens gathered, about 150 to be more precise. Temporary foreign workers from Mexico and area residents sat as one at long tables sharing the same needs in this moment - language barriers in times like this seem insignificant.

If they left the centre at all that day, they would return for lunch and then later for an evening meal before retiring to their still darkened homes to sleep.

Sharing has magnificent results when it’s performed with joyful and open hearts.

On Sunday, in Murray River, the Esso had run out of fuel but would-be customers appeared patient and understanding. Food inventory was getting low too and without power debit machines were rendered useless. Transactions were cash only.

No problem though. Repeated offerings to help cover the purchases were heard throughout the line-ups patiently waiting to be served.

Yet another example of willingness to help during extraordinary times.

That’s not to say neighbours don’t reach out day-to-day they do, but often the picture becomes clearer in the dark - when the lights go out.

At the same time power outages create great inconvenience, especially amidst the impatient society we have become.

Businesses lose money. Anxiety builds among home and property owners; fishermen are no longer the masters of their destiny as the storm takes control of their boats and farmers can do nothing more to protect their crops and equipment. Emergency personnel stand at the ready and the list of helpers goes on and on.

Storms create a network of kind-heartedness that blankets the province.

So you can’t get on or off the Island? As Jed Clampett said, “A feller’d be a darn fool to give up all this.”

Remember to give thanks among the constant hum of generators and buzz of chainsaws.

Heather Moore is editor of The Eastern Graphic. She can be reached at editor@peicanada.com

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