Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weathering the Storm

Irene came and went. For some, she was a non-event; a lot of rain and some wind. Here, I tucked away the grill, the lawn furniture, filled the hot tub, brought in the electric fencers and the water troughs. The horses were locked up in the barn. I was ready.

And Irene came, unleashed her wrath, but not on us.

Unfortunately, she dumped her fury-tempests of torrential rain-on a place we least expected, the lovely state I used to call home- Vermont.

It began with a text from my son asking if I'd seen the footage. No. I hadn't. He e-mailed links and I suddenly understood. I couldn't comprehend, but it was there, in full color. Bridges, familiar roads, farms and homes destroyed. Tiny, babbling brooks turned into walls of frothing water; the Williams river that runs through Chester, a waterway that my aunt used to laugh at- "they call that a river?", churned and raged, taking with it an historic covered bridge, as it roared down the valley.

It seems that not one road or town was unscathed. It is impossible to travel directly East to West across the state. The route I used to travel to work is simply gone in one spot. It was near a river. Actually, it was about 100 feet above a river, the steep bank forested with large trees. You could hardly notice the water, seemingly so far away. You notice it now. The pavement is gone, dropping off those 100 or so feet, down into an impassable oblivion.

And that is only one. Communities are cut off, some brave souls making contact over hill and dale with horses and ATVs. No power. No water. No phone. And no way in or out.

I still can't believe it. I look at the pictures. I e-mail and call those friends with power and phone to make sure they are alright. They say they are. Vermonters are made of incredibly resilient stuff.

I know there are other states and communities hit hard by this storm. The shorelines are battered, parts of New Jersey are still flooding, the Catskill region has washouts, too.

Where I live and in nearby New York City, there is a sigh of relief. We dodged a bullet.

But so many did not.

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