There is beauty in everything . . .  MUSICA

What a week!

(Jack says hello too . . .)

 Hurricane Sandy has sort of taken over Halloween for me.  Knowing lives were lost, hearts are broken, homes were swept away, dreams of a lifetime burned, there are millions of people with no electricity, much less all the other problems this storm has caused, makes it sad.  I know we will celebrate tonight, because life goes on, and it’s the right thing to do, I sent my disaster money to the Red Cross, and now, we do have children coming!  Something must be done!

No matter what, to me, every bit of Mother Nature is beautiful; something as small as these dewy webs on the wire fence of our place in California for example, maybe not be beautiful or special to everyone, but to me, with the fog coming through the trees across the fields, I think it’s beautiful, and perfect for the season . . .

Another image I love is this spider, with the green swirls on his back; he’s only a decoration on the door of a shop . . . I couldn’t help but take this picture… the rough paint and the old door knob and key hole are pretty too.

Look at these wonderful little white squashes we saw in a farm stand on our trip around New England. Like little ghosts.  They said Nature’s Halloween to me too . . .

And this little guy . . . on our door step …. pretty little thing, almost like a drawing, his fingers all splayed.

Which is exactly what we will be doing tonight.  We have lots of children coming to the door, expecting candy, candles, and pumpkins, and good adults that make things nice for them, that’s our job.

Our ghost is in the window and ready . . .

Our pumpkins are all carved . . . this little mouse will have to wait until after Halloween for his pumpkin pie.

They say the cream rises to the top, and of course it is true, and the cream is rising from this disaster; brave, everyday heroes are coming forward, neighbors comfort neighbors, faraway neighbors in California and Montana are helping neighbors in New Jersey, we are all in this together, money is flowing in, because this is a wonderful country full of wonderful people.  And as horrible as this was, when you think of other Nature disasters around the world the last few years, it could have actually been even worse.  Especially here on the island.

I almost feel guilty, we are so lucky; for some reason, this hurricane hooked around Cape Cod and let this tiny speck of an island in the Atlantic go by.  This photo was taken out on the walk Joe and I have gone on almost every day since 1990 . . . so very beautiful and special out there, it would break my heart if it disappeared, but of course it could . . .  I call this view “Ireland,” and always say that our walks there are the best part of my day; to me, it’s Mother Nature in perfection.

But so, in a way, is this . . . the same view about five hours before the first high tide came rolling in, over the water, to the trees in all their autumn colors.

Just in case we ever begin to think we are in charge, something like “Sandy” reminds us that  we are no match for Mother Nature.  I still have no idea how they could ever evacuate Martha’s Vineyard if it somehow became necessary.  Would we have to leave our pets and farm animals behind?  No one would go.  The ferry would have to be like Noah’s Ark.

This is the sandy road we walk every day; it’s on a very narrow strip of land . . . I’ve never seen it under water before . . . on the left is the pond, and about 100 feet to the right, is the sound.  We went out to take pictures early on, but we were safe inside when the brunt of the storm came through.

Here’s the sound, and the beach we usually walk on…. before the surge . . .

I was surprised to see so many little boats left to ride out the storm, usually when a hurricane is on the way, all the boats are taken off the water.  This is a view from the Steamship dock in Vineyard Haven.  The strongest image I have of the whole thing is the noise the wind made, howling over the water, and through the trees.

We went to bed that night, feeling small, tattered leaves flying off the trees, flicking at the windows like a ticker tape parade, kitties close, candles near by just in case.  We woke in the morning, going to every window at first light, peeking out to see what happened; relieved to see the trees still standing, that everything was still here.  But, we worried, how was the rest of the coast . . .

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.  ♥ John Muir

Yesterday afternoon, I was making Chili for the neighborhood Halloween Party we’re having tonight, and went out to take a picture of this view from our porch; blue skies were smiling on me; the whole island had been washed clean.  And this morning, now that the water has receded, as soon as it gets light, we are going out on our walk, to see how it looks out there.

During the storm, our wreath blew off the front door and went tumbling down the street; Jack and I happened to see it go from my studio window . . . Jack’s ears perked up like little soldiers and I ran outside, got blown down the street myself, but I grabbed it and brought it in to dry.  Tonight we’ll put the wreath back on the door, light the pumpkins, and be grateful that we can, and think of our dear neighbors in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York; how tired they must be. We’ll hand out the candy for them; and send prayers from over the water for the rebuilding of their dreams, and in case anyone is reading this,  just so you know,  our hearts are with you. 

Despite everything, this is a beautiful world; a gift from God, this little speck floating out alone in space, our world to protect as best we can and love.  xoxo Take care Girlfriends, Have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!

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  1. Thank you, Susan, for your thoughts and prayers for those of us in Sandy’s path. Your post actually brought tears to my eyes, it was so beautifully said.
    Happy Halloween! Have fun tonight!

  2. JO Ann Crook says:

    Dear Susan…
    So grateful to hear that the Island is in tack. That the far reaching hand of this storm did not pluck from it’s beauty. Standing amazed however, that this tiny island was spared. That would be God as He is the only one who can direct such a production. I too, love all of nature. The beauty and the ominous beauty of His creation.
    I love reading Willard, and this blog is great. I live on the Island vicariously through you….teeheehee!!! My husband and I left for Cape Cod for our honeymoon, forty-three years ago only to make it as far as Woods Hole. We were delighted to be anywhere alone, and together. We loved our stop and stayed there. We roomed at the Studio Motel, and ate at a delightful restaurant on the water. It’s name escapes me right now, but when we returned for our twenty-fifth it was still there. The Studio Motel was not. I purchased a book from a little book store over the tiny bridge. As A Man Thinketh. I still have it and I still recall our first trip together and the beauty of the beginning of our lives together. As that goes, we were blessed with a tiny cherub, and a handsome prince. Our love has sustained in spite of the storms of life that do come. I would love to have been a writer, longing to pen what my heart, mind, and soul absorbed as we began our journey in love. Our little cherub , Jami Sue was diagnosised with Mosaic Down Syndrome, and thus began a very different coloring of life, outside the lines. She is now forty-one, and our prince, Joseph John is thirty-nine. We have one grandchild, finally, Joseph Jacob, who has turned two on October seventeenth. Love, Love, Love October. Beauty surrounds us in this season change.
    I know that I cannot tell you our life story, but God had a plan and He navigated, directed, and blessed our every move. There is way too much to send you, except to say His plan for you is beyond delightful. I can visit our beloved Marth’s Vineyard anytime I choose. I am so grateful. I can almost smell what I recall as I read your account of so much.
    One more thing I will share with you. My beloved Lee and I wrote to each other a letter to be opened on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. When we were able to make our returned trip to the Island, we opened them at the wonderful restaurant that I cannot recall, hahahha, and read the precious words of our covenant love from one another. We are extremely grateful for His love shed abroad in our hearts enabling us to love. Now we have heard that our only grandchild may be autistic. Life spins on a dime, and often it feels like a tiny hurricane with us held by the force of uncontrollable winds. The only difference is the Creator of the Universe holds us together just as He did your tiny Island. Thank you for following through with your dream of writing and sharing. You are one of my favorite people. May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you and may you continue to put words together that bless so many who cannot live in this wonderful place. We are to bloom where we are planted, and we have. hugs and love JoAnn Crook

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful that you thought ahead and did those letters! I love that idea. What fun they must be to open on your anniversary — I have my diaries of when Joe and I met, but they are really very one-sided! Would like to hear his view . . . although he tells me all the time, but still. Thank you for your beautiful comments JoAnn, I very much appreciate them … my TV is on now, seeing the damage, and still feel so sad for these people.

  3. Rosinda says:

    What a beautiful, touching post! I am glad you are giving out candy tonight, in place of those who cannot. In times like these, we just have to be brave. Moving on and making Halloween fun for the children (and adults too) is the right thing to do. Bless your heart. Happy Halloween! xoxo

  4. Barb from Ohio says:

    So glad to hear that you are safe and well and have posted this wonderful heartfelt post. Everyone celebrating Halloween and trick or treat tonight should do so heartily and be glad they can celebrate. Like you said, do it for the thousands who cannot because of this devastating storm. Prayers and warm wishes to go out to those in New Jersey, New York and all areas hit hard.

  5. jane says:

    I was so hoping you would post…I just didn’t know if MV had been affected by the storm. Watching the storm approach on the television, from my safe little home in the Midwest, my knees turned to jelly and my mind raced. It felt as if it were happening to all of us…and it was. We ARE the United States. But amidst the destruction and damage, I am seeing good souls helping others and that makes my heart burst!

    Now we have to keep moving forward. The kids will be knocking at my door in a few hours and I have to replace all of the chocolates I ate out of the candy bowl!! Take care, Sweet Lady!

    Jane From Chicago

  6. So happy to hear your safe Susan. Your post says it all. I’m glad to hear your island was spared. My heartfelt prayers from the west coast to the east coast. Praying all will get the help they need as soon as possible. Sending encouragement and comfort to all affected by the storm……k

  7. Wanda in Louisiana says:

    Our prayers are for everyone who suffered during the storm – we, especially in Louisiana, understand the loss! Thankful your lovely island was safe. I’m sure your wonderful old house (like SO many there) have had to stand firm in many storms. May God protect and comfort those in need.
    And sharing some fun of Halloween will be a relief tonight, for sweet little ones who come by to enjoy special treats! Thanks for sharing the pictures!
    Love and “scary smiles” : )

  8. Laura says:

    A great big thank you from Queens, New York.

  9. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good morning susan, everyone. Happy Halloween. glad you are okay and that the island was spared the damage that Sandy wreaked everywhere. i do hope everyone came through okay…Sweet Pea, my thoughts and prayers are there for you and hugs. hope Jack and Girl Kitty came through okay, i’m sure you hugged them tight alot during the storm. i know this a bit off the subject but when do we get that tour of the graveyard there???? i do hope it wasn’t damaged by the storm. just glad to to know you came through okay and to the rest of the girlfriends affected by Sandy….hugs. Happy Halloween. hugs everyone…… 🙂

  10. Cindy says:

    Susan, you so live your life on the brighter side each and every day- what an inspiration! Reading your blog always helps me return to Gratitude, especially on days when I get distracted. Celebrating and cherishing every little nuance allows the soul to experience the greatest gifts of all… Faith, Hope, and Love. Paz ~*

  11. kim says:

    A wonderful post. For the rest of you east coast residents, even here on the other side of the world I have been sending out prayers to you.
    It is good to read that there are still so many good helpful people out there. I am sure a lot of sometimes doubt that part. A crisis can certainly bring out the best in people. Stay safe, especially after the storm…


  12. Jan says:

    Thanks for the beautiful post! Again, glad you folks are fine.Thoughts and prayers to those in need.

  13. Lovely post Susan! I always enjoy reading your blog so much, your posts are so positive and uplifting!

  14. Cheryl Walsh says:

    I am so glad to hear you are all ok! I worried about you every time I watched the storm path pictures.

    The damage is SO terrible, and you are very lucky to have escaped. We are so thankful here in Oregon that we don’t have hurricanes to worry about. Remember the old margerine ad that went…”it’s not nice to fool mother nature!” ? We humans think we are so important and then nature lets us know who is really in charge and how lucky we are most of the time.
    Kiss the kitties for me!

  15. Susan in SC says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring meditation on both the fragility and strength of our lives together on this planet.

  16. Judy Frank says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for the update on your area. Having family in New York and Mass., I too have been doing a lot of praying for the dear ones involved. Being in the southwest where it is dry so much of the time we kept watch with you, as many living here are also affected with family and friends. Thank you for your encouaging words to your bloggers. We are in this together. God bless you and all these new friends who are leaving such thoughtful comments.
    Have a great day and fun tonight! Boo!

  17. Miss Pat in Indiana says:

    Thank you so much for posting. You & Joe & Jack and Girl Kitty along with my son and his family in Westport, MA have been constantly on my mind. All of you are fine, thank Goodness. The only thing we could do in Indiana was watch, worry, and pray. Like I always say, worry and prayer work, you are all safe and sound and ready to carry on.

  18. Edie Olson says:

    You have such a way with words. We have been praying for all of you on the east coast. Yes, living in Oregon seems so far removed from the storm,however we Americans are unique in that we hurt when others in our country hurt. We will pray those families back to recovery because we care and we Americans are a very generous people

  19. Gail from California says:

    Hi Susan,

    So well stated. Your words and wisdom has touched those of us that have read your post. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all, that were affected my Sandy. You are so right about everyone coming together and helping our fellow man, during times of need. So thankful you, Joe, and the kitties are safe and sound.
    Happy Halloween!!!!

  20. Kathy Jones says:

    Happy Halloween day Susan! Beautiful blog today , as it always is, so special though this day,with well written sentiment, after all the sadness of Sandy, glad you are all safe there.

  21. Karen Saunders says:

    I feel so helpless clear back here on the West Coast, not being able to help our fellow Americans in need. My heart goes out to them and my prayers. Glad you made it through safely. I loved the close-up of Jack, how ‘halloweeny’ he is. I loved the pumpkin and the mouse. Did you paint that?

  22. Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

    Susan…like many others, I kept checking your blog and F.B.’s F.O.S.B. for updates…chiding myself, how can they update, if power is out, silly?!
    You have such an artist’s eye! Not only in your painting and photography but in your words, as well. Truly, you paint our world with sweet and soft watercolors, capture the poignant moment, and express important feelings with the right words.
    ❤ Thank you for assuring us that you, Joe, the kitties, Halloween, and, indeed, life will continue on. Also, thank you for the gentle reminder of how those of us, on the opposite coast, can help. Have a wonderful, fun evening. Your charming neighborhood is most fortunate to have you and Joe. ❤

  23. Judy Tracy says:

    *What a lovely, healing message! Thank you so much. I am sure, just what so many of us were blessed to read this morning! Keep those loving thoughts coming our way. Your gifts are blessing us all.
    Judy Tracy

  24. Diane Byrum says:

    Dear Susan, I wanted to send out an S.O.S. (Save Our Susan) and said many prayers for those in Sandy’s path. So glad to hear you, yours and the Island faired well. We’ve weathered many hurricanes here in Florida and what’s left behind is the most difficult to deal with. But as you said, we are a generous and grateful people ready to help our neighbors. Be safe tonight this All Hallow’s Eve, have fun. Celebrate and rejoice tomorrow on All Saints Day. I thank you for your sweet, wonderful spirit and loving us girlfriends. xoxo u

    • sbranch says:

      My heart is still so sorry to see what is going on…but what did make my day was to see a Republican and a Democrat working together amiably to help their constituents… I can’t help but LOVE it … now that is what I call a miracle.

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Imagine the possibilites……for We the People, the United States of America…. if they could/would work “together amiably to help their constituents,” everyday!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Amen and a half to that! President Obama, Governor Christie [NJ], Mayor Bloomberg [NYC], Governor Cuomo [NYS] – I believe the word “statesmen” is truly in order here. Light years beyond “politician.” But isn’t it a shame that their common cooperation and selflessness looks so out of the ordinary these days? When so many need so much?

  25. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Again you have put into words what has been in my heart.

  26. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Very well said, Susan, and thanks for sharing the photos and video. I’m glad MV was not hit but, of course, sorry for the devastation where it did hit…We think we are in control but when something like this happens, we realize we aren’t. I feel almost guilty for our beautiful weather we are having, ironically because of the hurricane stalling our weather. Thirteen years ago the Twin Cities got the famous “Halloween Day Blizzard”–28″ of snow! So one never knows what Mother Nature has in store for us… 🙂

  27. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    God has blessed us with you, Susan Branch. You are a connecting force for so many people with your insight, kind words, beautiful art work, and genuine love of humankind. In your daily routine of life, do you really know, down deep inside your soul, why God put you here? I think WE ALL do. You are a blessing for so many…… Thank you for being YOU! ♥

  28. Elaine says:

    Lovely post and photos ! You are amazing ! The storm did hit us here in Southwestern Ontario Canada but we made it ok , I was worried about all the old trees around us but they held on. It had been raining since last Friday here and will finally see sunshine this weekend. Mother nature will do what she needs to do but I still respect her . Yes we all must go on and for those who lost property and loved ones my prayers and heart go out to them all ! No trick or treaters here in our area as the kids here are Mennonites . Hope you have a Happy Halloween and glad you made it unscathed by the storm .

  29. Perfectly said in words and images. We’re praying for all of those who are impacted and trying to imagine what it must be like. We were worried about you, too, so we are so happy to see that you are alright and “intact”.


  30. Victoria Miller says:

    Susan, so very glad to see your post this morning! Martha Stewart, whose blog I also follow, usually posts daily and has had no posts since the 29th. The last big storm her state of the art organic farm in Bedford got hit very hard. Her last post was to share the fall foliage pics before the storm hit. I have a lot of family and friends back east who were without electricity for a time but thank goodness everyone is fine, other than for some inconveniences, and all the downed trees and utility poles.
    Thanks for the Cat Stevens this morning. I saw him in concert many, many years ago, when he was resurrecting his career following treatment for TB. He had a small group and was clearly terrified, very uptight. The audience stood and applauded for about ten minutes when he finished and left the stage. He finally came back out, looked in amazement at everyone and said, “Wow! You REALLY liked it?” Then he took up an acoustic guitar and sat and played, relaxed, like he was in our living room, for an hour. Thanks for recalling this precious memory.
    It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do for others.
    The next couple of days are busy ones, but I will return and savour this post and read the comments. I love your quote from John Muir. Quotes are such marvelous little means of giving us a little jog in perspective about things. Have a wonderful Halloween, Susan, Joe, Jack & Girl Kitty, et al.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank YOU for recalling that precious memory for us! Must have been wonderful! I would think perhaps Martha Stewart doesn’t have electricity … so many don’t. Thank you Victoria, for writing. Happy Halloween!

  31. Becky in the mountains of West Virginia says:

    We have about 12 inches of snow here but the melt down has begun. We are thankful we didn’t lose power but many neighbors did. Our daughter and husband are staying with us until theirs is restored. Many people are staying in motels or shelters. My heart goes out to those in other areas of the country who have lost their homes or have damage to them. Glad you, Joe and kitties are ok.

  32. Paula says:

    I was so worried about you, Joe and the kitties! Glad to hear you are all safe and sound. A perfect post, everything you said, I know is what everyone else is thinking! My oldest son lives in New York, NY and just like you, his little neighborhood was left unscathed for the most part! Thank you for making me feel calm and peaceful about things!

  33. Kathy Phenix says:

    So glad to read your post this afternoon. I thought of you islanders often in the past few days. I marvel at your question “What if they evacuated MV?” Boy, that would be hard. I don’t even want to imagine it.
    I’m flying to CT on Fri to attend the funeral of a dear friend. Staying with her family who have only a generator for power but we need to come together. She had a long and very giving life. She was one of the first hospice nurses in this country and worked full time for CT Hospice for 22yrs. She touched so many lives and needs to be remembered for the caring soul she was. I had the privilege of caring for her during her illness here in FL; as we both moved here within 1 yr of each other
    and lived only 10 miles apart. She was a joy to know right up until her passing.
    So think of me, flying into the post storm. I’ll hate viewing the destruction but will feel some closure with attending her service. Kathy in Melbourne

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      My sincere condolences, Kathy – on the loss of your dear friend. Please consider yourself [virtually] squeezed… :>)

  34. Theresa says:

    Thankful you and your lovely island are safe. Prayers continue For the suffering ones. God is still in control! Thankyou for your very thoughtful post. Blessings from the Texas pastures…

  35. Connie from Texas says:

    Susan, soooooo glad for your post. Been so worried about you, Joe and the kitties and your beautiful home, as well as everybody else on the island. I have checked everyday for your post, hoping to hear just a little something to know that you all were ok. This morning God answered my prayers, your post has absolutely left me in tears, tears of happiness that you and yours are safe, and tears of sadness for all those afflicted. God is so wonderful, he answers so many prayers and we have to keep him in our lives, especially during the hard times. So glad that you are safe, so very glad!

  36. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Susan, thank-you for such a beautiful and heartfelt post. I too was wondering how your island was going to be effected and glad to know it somehow got saved. The news has been good about showing us both the devastation and those brave people out helping their neighbors and saving people from unexpected flooding and fires. Heroes, all of them! I feel for everyone who is facing the loss of their homes or loved ones. Living in Florida, I understand how hurricanes can just be devastating. You know they are coming and you prepare as best you can, but sometimes the fury exceeds all planning and devastation is widespread. Miserable!

    Thank-you for your Halloween cheer as it is always presented so special by you. For those of us who still love the celebration, your post is a great reminder of all the things that children are expecting on this special night of pretend and fun!! Trick or Treat to you and Joe!!

  37. Barbara Thomas says:

    How do you “write” on those pumpkins?!

    So glad you are safe and wonderful post today, Sue!

    Barbara from Lodi, CA

  38. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what so many of us feel. My heart breaks for those who suffered from this storm. I am counting extra blessings today, knowing that my CT family is safe, and can only imagine what those who suffered great loss are going through. Your quote today is one of my most favorites.

  39. Sarah says:

    I have been WAITING to hear how you fared during the storm. I thought of you often these past few days. We got hit hard here in Virginia. 60 mph winds with gusts even higher for at least eight hours. We have over 100 old trees in our yard, and only prayer held them in the ground. 🙂 I always have to tell myself they didn’t get that big by being wimpy. We spent the night in the basement with our shaking puppies as the wind howled all around us.

    There are only 10 houses on our road, and most of our neighbors are getting to be elderly. We started making our rounds late yesterday afternoon to check on all of them. My husband was one of those “helpers” you mentioned. Once the winds died down, he headed down the road with his chain saw to cut apart a massive tree that had fallen across the road, trapping most of our neighbors. The real tree guys showed up this morning to remove trees from the power lines, followed by the Cavalry, aka those heroic linemen, who put all the power lines back where they belong. Speaking of heroes, I was moved to tears at a picture I saw this week of the soldiers who stood in the storm, still guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington DC. Their dedication astounds me.

    So all we face now is the clean up. But we suffered NOTHING compared to what so many are going through. Just heartbreaking. I am SO GLAD you are safe!

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Sarah, you are so right. The story of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns is truly incredible. For anyone who’s interested, I believe this is the official website –

      You will be amazed at what they go through to be selected, the required conduct during their period of service etc. Just absolutely incredible.

  40. pat says:

    So glad that you are safe. I still have not heard from my cousin in New Jersey since right before “Sandy” hit. My thoughts and prayers are out to all those people who have been affected by this storm and also to the people who are helping them. We do live in a beautiful country and we are survivors and things will get back together again. Have a Happy Halloween.

  41. Jeanette says:

    Had been wondering how Martha’s Vineyard survived Sandy–so glad you and your cats are safe! prayers to your neighbors….

  42. Debbie from Valencia, CA says:

    Susan, thank you so much for the beautiful and touching post. Yes, life does go on but knowing that the world is full of more wonderful people than bad makes it easier to move on for those who have lost so much. Thoughts and prayers are with those who are trying to put their lives back together. Thank you for letting us know about the donation to Red Cross. I will be donating shortly. Happy Halloween to you and Joe and all the kiddos on MV. God Bless

  43. Cyndi in NC says:

    While NC wasn’t left unscaved our area got a pass this time. Our Outer Banks took a bad hit but they will be back. They have been saying that if a hurricane came into NJ and/or NJ that it would be bad and it was. The fire that burned about 80 houses to the ground was the final insult to those folks up there. I waited to see that all my friends and family from VA Beach up into Upstate NY were ok. So far they only reported power out, some leaking and a window blown out. My prayers go out to all in the path. I’m glad all of you rode it out ok. Yes Halloween is for the children, big and small and life goes on. Children will be happy and that is important. Speaking of Halloween I do live the ghost in the window. He was a great fine. I’ll listen for my owl tonight. Happy Haunting to all!!

  44. Becky from Oklahoma says:

    We’ve had our share of tornadoes, but nothing, nothing so wide spread and distructive as Sandy! Thanks for your update, and for the reassuring post that reminds us that life goes on. Sometimes it certainly feels as if it just can’t.Best to all and many well wishes coming your way. Becky

  45. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    The Outer Banks in NC is all in a few feet of water and sand everywhere. The bridge to Hatteras gone again. I am glad MV is ok. Love the John Muir quote, he is from WI. We made it through this one ok, except for the folks that live along the south side of Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore. God Bless all the girlfriends who were/are in harms way.

  46. Susan, I’m so relieved to know that you, your family, home and island weathered the storm. I’m waaaay over here on the west coast, but my heart and prayers are right there with all those who are suffering from the aftermath of Sandy. Thank you for the update and the glimpses of nature’s beauty in the midst of disaster…tiny frogs, squashes, and colorful leaves. Life is hard, but God is good. ♥

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Heidi – I just love the name of your town! Love to say “Issaquah.” Bet it’s as lovely as it sounds… :>)

  47. Bonny ~* says:

    I’m so thankful that my loved ones are all safe and our prayers go out to those that have suffered so from the storm. Life will go on…we will rebuild, we will help one another. Thank you for reminding us of the beauty of this life! Happy Halloween!!! ~*

  48. Corey says:

    Susan, I am so glad to know that you all weathered the storm so well! I have a dear friend in New Jersey who had lots of damage, but he and his family are all ok. Things can be replaced but people can’t. My heart is heavy for all those who are suffering.

  49. mia sophia says:

    Hello Susan…So glad to hear that you are well on MV. I was worried about you and yours as well as all my friends on the east coast. Thank you for your beautiful words. You shine light, hope and peace on a time of such devastation. Blessings to all…

  50. Kathy Cronberg says:

    How perfectly well said, Susan! Storms like Sandy make all our everyday worries and cares seem very small indeed. Praying for everyone affected by the storm.

  51. Marie - Valencia, CA says:

    Thanks for the assurance that your island is safe. To Sweet Pea in CT and all the other Girlfriends, I send my love and prayers.

  52. Peggy H. says:

    As ever, your blog makes me feel better about just about everything. Thank you for expressing it all so well. xxxooo Peggy

  53. irene talaasen says:

    Hi Susan, Thankful for your post with pictures too and so thankful you all are well there. We have a huge God and He is in the midst of all this with comfort and mercy. Praying much for all that are and were in harm’s way. I love Mr. Rogers quote too…………..”to look for the helpers.” and Sherry’s verse from Romans All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” We don’t always understand, though.
    Blessings to you with your love and care for little children tonight. Colorado usually has its first snow on Halloween but today is 60 degrees and blue sky 🙂
    Thank you,

  54. Aggie says:

    Loved your heartfelt post which I expect has touched us all. This storm certainly reinforces the thought to make make the most of each day. ~ Wishing you a Happy Halloween ~

  55. E. Eastman says:

    Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts. It reminds us that through it all we will go on – the clouds will part and the sun will shine again.

  56. Valerie says:

    I was anxiously awaiting your blob in my inbox for news of how you faired the storm! It’s a bit frustrating that the news in California has only been showing us NJ and NYC. I wondered how Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket were affected. Not to mention so many other towns in the path of that fury! So happy to hear that you’re safe and sound. Have a wonderful Halloween!

  57. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Dear Susan – SO RELIEVED to see and read your beautiful blog today. I worried about you, Jo and the kitties all through this storm, plus all rest of the people going though this. I found it difficult sit down to a hot meal and crawl into my comfy bed, knowing what a horrible time the east coast was having – – and then as I was going to sleep I thought, I hope Susan’s tree, where she hangs her towels and quilts, doesn’t blow down! Why do goofy thoughts like this go through our minds in the midst of such disasters? My love and constant prayers for all our friends – – and must get money to the Red Cross. Hugs from Minnesota, Ruthie

  58. jo says:

    I follow and love your blog and have been part of Willard from the beginning. I have most of your books , love those too. Always wanted to visit your store in Ca but never quite made it down that way and then you were gone!!. I am very glad you and your “family” survived the storm and the island was spared. I am just shocked by all the devastation around the eastern seaboard, just goes to show that no one is truly safe from the path of a storm. I live in Northern California and I know how lucky I am to not be affected by much weather (only forest fires!).

  59. Sara in Placerville says:

    So beautifully said, dear Susan. Thank you for those perfect words. Indeed, we are all connected. We’re all in this life together.

  60. Sara in Placerville says:

    God drops his hankerchief in the form of living saints who walk the world, helping in small ways. ~ Frederick Buechner

  61. Marge says:

    Susan, So glad to get your blog today. I have been worried about you , just like all of my family in harms way due Hurricane Sandy. Good to know you made it through this terrible event. I suffered no damage here in Western PA.

    I recently read THE CHILDREN’S BLIZZARD by David Laskin. It is the story of the disastrous storm of 1888. Knowing that you are a reader, you might want to add it to your list of books to read. Thank you for this inspiring blog on a day when most people are feeling down while watching the news reports.

  62. mary ahearn says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for the beautiful post. Your thankful attitude is spot on- this has been and continues to be a horror for so many. We are so fortunate to have no damage and our power back on so quickly where I am, a suburb of Philly. So glad that you and yours are safe too.
    Take care, give the neighborhood a great Halloween party! Wish we could join in.

  63. suzk says:

    So glad you are all safe and sound. I’m in southern NH and we were okay, although a couple of towns still are waiting to get electricity going again. I came to work in Boston Monday morning and we closed (highly unusual) at noon. My bus trip home was an experience, especially when we reached the top of the Zakim Bridge and the wind hit the side of the bus. Our poor driver fought the wind all the way home. Watching TV Monday afternoon and evening was scary. My son lives in Quincy and they’ve experienced hard hits in the past so I wanted to be sure he was home safe as well. The devestation further south was so so sad. Fortunately, as you say, there are good people out there who quietly step and help. That, I guess, is really what America and Americans are all about.

  64. Cheryl in Kentucky says:

    Hi Susan,
    As others here have said, I am so glad that you and your friends are alright. Your post is simply beautiful…and says it all so well. I also love the pumpkin and the mouse, and your gorgeous photos…best of all Master Jack.
    Take care,

  65. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Susan & Joe & kitties – You were one of the many people I have prayed for and carried in my heart. I am so happy that things came out good for you and your home and surroundings. I have kept a vigilance through the TV which has kept me informed of all the goings on with those that have suffered so badly. And I know that each and every one of those that have gone through this act of MotherNature knows that across the United States they are in our hearts and prayers. We must remain strong and realize that the many people have a long way to go and, YES, sending donations to the Red Cross is one way to help. Unfortunately – there is nothing that brings all of us together like a disaster from Mother Nature. I know things will get better and people will get their lives back because we, as Americans, are strong and believe in each other. Have a wonderful Halloween and do celebrate. God bless all of Martha’s Vineyard and beyond. XXXXOOOO Pat

  66. Barbara says:

    Thank you for your kind thoughts Susan. I was thinking about you too and hoping you were safe on the island. So glad you and Joe (and the kitties) are fine. I live in NJ and my immediate area was spared. We had lots of rain and wind and lost power too but today things seem back to normal. We have some yard clean up to do, but all things considered, we got lucky. Just 45 minutes away, there is complete devastation. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the folks who are still struggling.
    Halloween has been postponed until Monday in the state of NJ but I hope yours is full of spooky fun!

  67. Debbie S., IL says:

    Susan, so glad to hear that you made it through the storm – I had been thinking about you out there! Thanks for the reminder about what’s really important, my heart too is breaking for all those that not only lost their sense of security, but loved ones as well. How blessed we are to have all those that come to help those in their time of need, such as the Red Cross. I can’t do much from here, but, I, too, sent in a donation to help in the effort. Enjoy your Halloween, it is a time to treasure life’s celebrations!

  68. Mary says:

    Susan, I’m so thankful you, Joe, Jake and the island were saved the brunt of Sandy – Blessings to all!
    We’ve loved Martha’s Vineyard since first being there on our honeymoon 50 years ago! Such a beautiful place with lasting memories – Your photo of the landing takes me back.

  69. Judy from Oregon says:

    My son lives in Boston and we were worried how he would fare through the storm, all I can say is that Massachusetts seemed to miss the brunt of it as everything is fine with him. I thought about everyone on Martha’s Vineyard and hoped that you would all come through safely and you have. Unfortnately other states did not. It has been amazing to hear all the stories and realize how much effort it is going to take to recover from this storm. When you are not there it is hard to really understand the magnitude of something like this. I was just listening to a newscast this morning about the Holland Tunnel in New York and how they expect it to be weeks before the water is all pumped out. I am betting that with the resilience that New Yorkers have shown it will be much sooner.

  70. Sue in Denver says:

    Your blog gives me hope when I feel hopeless and puts the joy back in my soul.
    Thank you so much.

  71. Janice says:

    God Bless you Susan Branch.
    and Happy Halloween to you and yours!

  72. Marilyn says:

    And everyone said AMEN!
    Thanks for reporting in.
    Take care and have a Delightful Halloween.

  73. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    Thank you for the moving and beautiful post. It has been hard to watch all the coverage and feel so helpless. Thanks for the tip about Red Cross. It makes me feel I can help in some small way. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. So glad to hear you, Joe, and the kitties are fine.

  74. JudyCnNC says:

    Beautifully said Susan – it brings tears to my eyes to think of “rebuilding their dreams.” We respect nature and also the beauty it has to offer – reminders all that life and love are fragile – no one promises you tomorrow. JC

  75. Linda Cummings says:

    So glad to hear you are ok. I don’t know anyone else who lives on the upper East Coast so you and your family were on my mind constantly during the storm.


  76. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan..i know how you feel….thankful, helpless, guilty, inspired..all rolled into one…felt the same way when the tornados ripped through here several months ago and of course when Joplin was hit…somehow.. the strong human spirit manages to break through…helping hands come in many forms….prayer,thoughtful giving and kind messages mean everything. We, like so many, are keeping those who are dealing with this close in prayer and at heart…. we are expecting our little trick or treaters tonight…so on we go..forward….. bearing in mind how much we really do need each other and never to take this wonderful life for granted…hope your evening is festive and spooky good!! happy halloween susan and joe…love, cindy

  77. Pam says:

    Glad you didn’t get too much of the storm damage on the island. We were thinking of you all and watching what was happening on the news.

  78. Becky Maggio says:

    Love, love the John Muir quote!! And more so, love, love “our” Susan and her ever endearing postings. Girlfriend (and I don’t say that lightly)…you have NO idea how much your words mean to so, so many of us. I think everyone has said what I was going to say in response to this mornings posting, but I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to think about everyone, especially those affected by Sandy. I live 60 miles south of New Orleans and have experienced such ravages many times in my 60 years. Please everyone…give to the Red Cross and be assured that your money will be well spent. Thanks, Susan, and God bless all in need.

  79. I did wonder how your little island fared in the blast and am a happy to see that you haven’t been blown off the map. Over here on the west coast of Canada we’ve had monsoon-like rains (not unusual for this time of year). Do you suppose those two weather systems are somehow related? Probably.

  80. judy dow says:

    We have been anxiously awaiting to hear that things are okay by you. I am glad that you missed most of the worst. At the same time I cannot quit thinking about all of those who lost so much. We can all keep praying for them and supporting them any way we are able. And… you are so right about evacuations. Pets and animals are family members and must go too.

  81. Cynthia says:

    We feel their pain and send our best love out to all affected by Sandy….and sending $ to Red Cross because of all the good they continually do…thank you for the poignant words in this installment of your blog….they are comforting…

  82. Life is fraught with drama and, sometimes, storms of huge proportions; it was a terrible storm, for so many people and places. Thank God it wasn’t worse because it was terrible as it was.
    BTW, please call me *Sandra* .

  83. Linda says:

    I was sooooo relieved when I saw your name in my email……I have no conception of where you are in relation to the disaster.I went online last night to look at MV weather and everything looked normal so figured you are way far east of the area. A scary thing that actually you did have some winds and water. I am with you that if evacuation was given and no animals could go…I would stay with mine regardless plus help anyone elses animals. Hard to believe that here in Idaho for the last 3 days –NO wind, blue sunny skies and 72 degrees. I was watering my hanging baskets and begonias and petunias–all still alive..roses blooming along with marigolds, allyssum etc. I sat on the patio later and did a little reading in short sleeve shirt. Unusual weather everywhere. I thought your post so humbling as others have lost everything …can’t even imagine how devastating that would be. Give those kitties an extra hug and a kiss tonight and have a happy Halloween!

  84. Gloria Howard says:

    Thank you for this post. I love what you wrote. And love this picture of Jack. I always enjoy reading about him, but looking at this picture just now, I fell in love.

  85. Lynn Marie says:

    Your blog was very touching today and said for all of us what is in our own hearts. I’m so happy to hear that your little spot of paradise came out of all of this unscathed. I live in Indiana and we have had rain, wind, and cold because of “Sandy” but am happy for my own little spot of paradise and blessings of protection.

  86. Selina says:

    Thank you for your post. We have been praying for everyone who has been affected by Sandy. We were also thinking of you and everyone on the island. So thankful to hear that you all are well.

  87. Buzz'n Bea says:

    I was so happy to see your post and know you are all okay. Your post are always so positive and encouraging.

    Praying for grace and strength for each day, for everyone effected by Sandy. You can do it one day at a time.

  88. Debbie Anderson says:

    So glad you and Joe are ok! It is wonderful to see everyone out to help each other in times like this. And you are right – the Red Cross is great about being there for help.
    Have a happy Halloween! 🙂

  89. JoAnn from SoCal says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your beautiful letter. I am glad that you are well and didn’t sustain damage. Listening to Cat Stevens’ Father and Son left me with tears streaming down my face. My son experienced the hurricane in Manhattan. All is well.

  90. Ruth Thomas says:

    I weathered two hurricanes when I lived in Newport, RI – 1954 and 1961 – I remember watching the angry ocean covering the route we walked to the beach every day in the summer time. Then I experienced the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake in California and the 1987 Whittier Earthquake – and the ice storm here in Indiana a few years ago and kept our power off for a week – all forces of nature – and I also watched people come together and care for each other – an awesome remembrance of this great country. I’m so glad that your little island weathered the storm. Even here in Indiana, we are experiencing the wind and rain of “Sandy” – our prayers go out to those who are without power and those will be have to rebuild or relocate during this sad time. Love to all and thanks to dear Susan for reminding us of so much.

  91. Sandy Richmond says:

    Wonderful words and post, Susan. Thank you. Almost six o’clock and trick or treaters should start showing up soon!

  92. Jackie P says:

    My family lives in NJ — lots of them near the shore. Have not been able to reach any one. I feel (and hope) they are safe — just temporarily without electricity, land lines or cell phones. One feels so helpless when communication is severed. Thank you for your blog today. I was wondering how you fared on the Island — so glad it was spared the devastation that could have happened. Loved so much your outlook on things — how the Island was washed clean, looking at the blue skies today, and going on with life since that is what we all have to do. You are so special. Hugs to you.

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      I hope you’ve gotten word from your family members by now, Jackie. It’s the waiting and not knowing that is so hard. God Bless!

  93. Tasha says:

    Thank you for a beautiful blog. It is wet and windy here in Warwickshire, but not so wild and stormy as on your side of the ocean. Thinking of you all, and hoping everything is well in your part of the US.

  94. Beth Keser says:

    What a beautiful post! I live in central Connecticut and fortunately we made out ok. Your pictures reminded me of how powerful the ocean can be. Have fun tonight. By the way, I love your ghost light in the window 🙂

  95. Deb from Dixie says:

    Dearest Susan, your words said it perfectly…..and touched are hearts.
    My prayers are with everyone touched by this storm… many families with now broken dreams and so much devastation……it is heartwrenching to see.

    It makes you wonder what incredible strength and courage it will take for those who have lost everything to begin anew. I pray for each and everyone.
    I remember that in a previous post you wrote (paraphrasing here) ” Something I know for sure is nothing stays the same, whether good or challenging, everything changes, we just don’t know how or when”. It is so true……and even with pre-warning, many times we just are still not prepared for what will happen……or what we will need to overcome to move forward and start over.

    Faith, hope, love and support……..fueled by the prayers of many… important for recovery.
    And to all the GF’s that were in the path of this hurricane….and those that can not read Susans post…..I hope in some small way they know we are all thinking of them, and the power of many caring hearts will provide some comfort.

    Susan, thanks for your wonderful spirit, that makes us remember to be grateful everyday, so glad all is safe on MV and you, Joe and kitties are okay.
    Sending ♥ ♥ ♥ to all,

  96. Nancy says:

    So glad you are all safe in your little corner of the world! My family in Jersey is safe, and that is what counts! Although it is heartbreaking to see the devastation on the Jersey Shore, where so many childhood memories were made on those beaches and boardwalks! But East Coast people are tough, and I have no doubt their strength will pull them through. Prayers are sent to everyone that was in the path of that horrible storm!

  97. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    I have never had my colors done but I am sure I am an autumn person…glorious colors here all bathed in golden light…sitting in my chair watching trick or treaters bounce up my walk..the world is certainly a beautiful place tonight!

  98. Lynn McMahon says:

    Just for anyone who may have had a loss due to flooding, Kovels gives 8 tips on how to care for your heirlooms~ the faster you can do it the better.
    Good luck~

  99. ginger says:

    Glad you are safe.

  100. Susan, so thankful your little isle is safe and that the surge did not get to your beautiful home and street! Praying for all the little munchkins out there tonight, be safe all who are able to get out! Our grands are at their church party, safe inside! (gram likes that)!
    My heart and prayers go out to all who have been hurt and damaged by H Sandy. Susan your words speak volumes, none more are needed, just lots of prayers.
    Have fun Susan and Joe, such joy watching and listening to the little ones
    Hugs and blessings to all,
    It is cold outside!!!Brrr~~~~~~~~~~~~!

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