I wrote this post earlier this month but never got around to posting after having technical difficulties.
When the storm hit on Saturday, I was on a bus to NYC with my son. We endured some white-knuckle moments as the bus swerved to miss cars, stopped short due to stalled traffic, and as we passed several awful accidents. We arrived safe and sound in the city and battled our way through falling slush, first to our hotel and later to a show and back.
While we heard about widespread power outages and downed trees back home, we didn’t really understand the extent of the damage until late Sunday night as we drove home from the the bus station.
We encountered detour after detour due to fallen trees. With much ofthe town in total darkness due to power outages, we often did not see trees blocking the road until we were practically upon them. It was eerie, seeing our town, places that seemed unfamiliar despite my living here most of my life, due to the darkness.
The next morning, as I ventured out of my cold home in serch of ice to preserve the bulk purchases of frozen foods I had stocked just the week before, I began to take in the extend of the damage. My town looked a shambles. The trees that lined streets and filled yards, most of which had not yet had a
chance to don their fall colors, never mind drop their leaves, had taken the brunt of the storm. Mature trees rent down the middle, will never recover. Everywhere I looked, there was destruction: large limbs on rooftops, branches hanging on electrical wires, bringing them to the ground, ornamentals bowed over until they snapped, and even trees completely toppled, their roots exposed to the cold air. Branches, clean up crews and electrical repair teams made the roads close to impassable, despite the many police officers working to coordinate traffic.
But amidst all of this desolation, the desolation, threatening to weigh down my heart, there were bright spots that lightened my spirits. In each part of town where the electricity still lit the streets and houses, I saw driveways filled with far more cars than belonged to those who lived there. Friends, relatives, neighbors, opening their homes to those without heat. Offereing beds, showers, meal to those who would otherwise spend a cold a night in the cold. Some of my neighbors still do not have have power three days after the losing their electricity. Students are going back to school, leaving cold, dark homes. Parents happy to have someplace light and warm where their children can have a hot meal and a chance to take their mind off the destruction around them.
As the snow turns to slush and then water and then disappears altogether, as we clean up and get back to life as usual, as the fresh scars on trees and the damage to cars and homes becomes a distant memory, I hope we remember the incredible warmth of a lit window and friends inviting us out of the storm and
into their hearts and homes.