Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Storm: Friday night

The Derecho that passed through the region at the end of June shook me to my core. It reminded me how fragile everything really is.

The power went out that Friday, just after dinner, and I felt like a genius that I'd both been too busy to go to the grocery store that evening, as planned, and that I'd remembered to stock up on batteries a couple of months back.

Coupons: Buy one get one free.

Both of my little camping lanterns were loaded and ready to go.

I expected the power to be out until morning. The wind alone, I thought, would have shaken loose branches and thrown them onto power lines. At worst, if the storm was really bad, I figured I might be without power for the weekend --a couple of years back, the power on my street had been out for about three days just before Christmas. The power company scared us about spending the holidays in the dark.

The lights had returned in plenty of time.

Still, to be on the safe side, I made plans to take the food into town. The city would come back online first and the radio station where I work was on the same part of the grid as the hospital --at least, that's what I'd heard.

It seemed vaguely pathetic, but I didn't feel like I could afford to lose even the scrawny pork roast, the couple of bags of frozen broccoli and the seven of eight eggs I had.

It's all money.

We went to bed early and were grateful the air coming through the open windows was cool. There wasn't even any rain.

At first light, the damned dog sniffed and snuffed at my hand hanging over the side of the bed then whined to go out.I've learned this is a courtesy on his part. If Rudy, the damned dog, is not taken out when he first asks, he pees in the doorway to my bedroom, while staring directly at me.

I grabbed a pair of shoes, slung a shirt over my head, found his leash by the door and took him out. I thought I might check the garden while I was out, see if the wind had done anything to my tomato stakes or the ill-conceived bean trellis I'd assembled with local (and very green) bamboo.

The tomatoes were fine. The trellis was squashed and at the top of the yard, an apple tree had been yanked out of the ground like a ripe carrot. Roots that had never seen the sun were now exposed and the tree was irreparable. It was dying.

Down the road, two other trees laid on their side. Another had been ripped down the middle. Branches were cast everywhere and my little neighborhood looked battered.

An eerie silence seemed to hang in the morning mist.

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