Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene

Sunflowers are flat. I felt like a discombobulated zombie. 74 hours without power. Let me explain.

Hurricane Irene. Well, Tropical Storm Irene by the time she arrived here in Lewiston, Maine. Still, we noticed. People shopped extensively the days before, as we had plenty of warning. Batteries, water, generators, milk, bread, and beer went off the shelves and into carts and cars.

I was poo poo. Prob some rain and that's it. I went to the beach the day before. It was hot, sunny, and deserted. No one! Everyone shopping and tidying their yards.

Yeah. I should have been doing that. I should have taken down my windchimes, the fabric canopy over my deck, and the broken outdoor light. I did put the lawn chairs in the garage and the pots of petunias down in a protected corner.

The rain started around midnight. It rained all day, and the wind picked up. It blew like a train. The clouds swirled. I saw a patch of blue sky, then a big gray cloud came over, and a big wind. It picked up the canopy over my deck and shredded it into Tibetan prayer flags. Then another patch of blue sky. Then more gray clouds, wind, and rain.

I took the dogs out. Lucy was afraid of the wind and thunder. She shivered, tucked her tail, and stuck to my legs. I did storm yoga in the summer house, tripping over Lucy.

I hoped the power wouldn't go out. It was way more rainy and windy than I'd planned on. I filled a pot with water, to flush, in case I didn't have water. I turned the dial on the frig to the coldest, in case I lost power. I wanted it to be plenty cold in there. I did laundry and took a shower. I wanted to be clean.

At 4 pm I heard a pop. The power went out. It was dark.

It stopped raining around 5 pm. The sky lightened a bit. I went outside. All the neighbors were out in the street: wandering, dazed, looking at the sky & trees. We chatted. I looked down the street: all the neighbors, everyone was outside, all at the same time. I put the dogs on leashes and wandered down, chatting, visiting. We went to see the big tree laying across the power lines. Live lines flapped in the breeze: stay back.

Later, I went to sleep. It was too warm, but no AC, no fan. The next day was my first day back at work. I took a cold shower. It's painful, and feels so good when you stop. I took cold showers for the next 2 days. My power was out for 3 days and 3 nights. Since I live in the city, I had water. I could flush, wash, and shower: I felt blessed. I remembered the ice storm of '98? '97? Our power was out for 10 days, and no running water since we had a well and a pump. I remember the hardest part was not being able to flush, and having to wash my hands with moist wipes. The best part was charades by candlelight.

So 3 days, 3 nights, no power. The dirty dishes piled up, as did the laundry. It was hot at night. Every other neighbor had a generator and the noise was disconcerting. It sounded like everyone was mowing their lawn, all at once, all the time. And the gasoline fumes. Yuck.

I'd come home from work and hear the generators. No power.

I'd sit in the evening, the gloom matching my mood. I painted watercolors. I patted the dogs.

Last night 2 cherry-picker trucks rolled up the street. Neighbors came out again, dancing and waving their arms to the sky. Workers had cut up the tree during the day, while I was at work. This was 6 pm. I'd taken the dogs for their walk, and taken my cold shower. A shampoo too, brutally cold. It felt good to sit in the sun after, on the deck, under the tattered canopy.

So the cherry-pickers. It took like 5 minutes to hook up the wires. Power restored. Hugs all around. More dancing in the streets. I felt energized, pulled up the flattened sunflowers and put them on the compost. I opened the frig and tossed out all the contents. Wow. Tofu smells really bad after 3 days. I did laundry and washed dishes. For thrills, I turned on the AC. I took a hot shower and shaved my legs.

Irene. 

1 comment:

  1. And yet you never lost your twinkle. Easy for me to say, one mile away and fully powered the whole time.

    ReplyDelete