samedi, juillet 22, 2006

Out of control?

Our power went out Tuesday night. My son was at his dad's house-they also lost power, but a bit later. Sian and I got out the candles, ate our corn (all that I had cooked before the electricity went) and salad in the dining room, and watched the wind bend the tops of the big trees in the back near the private road. I had rarely seen a storm that fierce, nor rain that violent. When the storm subsided, we decided to take a drive around the neighborhood. We had the insane thought that we might find a place to buy ice cream. In our defense (ok, not much of a defense, officer), we were clueless as to how powerful the storm had been. I learned later that the town where we live had some of the highest wind gusts in the area... they clocked hurricane force winds of more than 70 miles an hour. It wasn't too long before we discovered that the storm damage was much greater than we thought. Tree branches had fallen throughout Glenmoore and made driving difficult, if not impossible. The fire company had gone out before us, their sirens blasting down Fairview Road. We ran into them around Little Conestoga near the creek, and were forced to turn around and drive back. If we'd been truly intelligent (if I had been truly intelligent) we would not have gone out in the first place. The next two days were spent throwing vegetables and fish into the trash, finding creative places to take showers (not that creative, don't get your hopes up) and trying to maintain some semblance of a normal routine. Blessings on the friends who took us in on Wednesday night and gave us an air conditioned, peaceful refuge. In the suburbs, we were hit hard, which makes sense when you think that there are many more trees out here in the boonies. From what I read, the storm took out a power line here and a tree there, damaging substations all over the area, which made it impossible to fix the problem at any one source. So the crews (some of them workers who volunteered to come in from neighboring states!) worked (and are perhaps still working) 16 hour days to restore power to towns like mine. Running my usual route yesterday, I noticed many trees uprooted, and branches sheared from the trunk...and I wondered: who is paying attention? What are the climatologists thinking about this tropical summer here on the East Coast? What of the heat wave seizing Europe, where few families have air-conditioning? Will we look at this summer as the beginning of the end of normal? Alternately furious and curious, I wondered what those of us with children and grandchildren could or would do to stop the seemingly inevitable incursion of global warming. The one thing I will not allow myself is hopelessness and a sense of inevitability.

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