O Pioneers!

What a lot of things I haven’t been blogging about! Let’s see if I can get back into this, with one of the many reasons I’ve done nothing for the last month.

We were smack in the middle of the Great Ice Storm of Aught-Eight last month. Thursday night we went to bed expecting to spend a dreary Friday without power, but nothing more. We were awakened in the night by the CRACK!s of branches and limbs and entire trees falling, one a minute or so. It was really quite terrifying. In the morning we were greeted by, well, nothing at all except more falling branches: not only were the usual house noises silenced by the power outage, but the whole street was eerily empty.

The house hadn’t been crushed by a falling tree during the night—very few were, although I heard of a number of squashed cars—but that was really the only bright spot. No power means no water and no heat. We spent Friday huddled around the fireplace, in moods of varying badness. For most of the day we were trapped. Clearing the driveway was easy enough (although a chainsaw would have helped—I have one, but it’s electric), but the roads were effectively impassable, as I found out when I tried to leave. The problem wasn’t so much the immense fallen branches and piles of brush and downed power lines (hey, it’s not like any of them were live), bad as they were, as at was the limbs that continued to fall through the day. Walking would have been suicidal.

It was pretty, though, in a horrifying sort of way. Everything, still standing or not, was covered with a glittering coat of ice. Imagine Narnia after an artillery battle.

By Friday evening the roads were barely passable, in part because things had been cleared a little but mostly because the debris had mostly stopped falling from above. We spent the night with friends who had been spared the power outage, thanks to the miracle of buried power lines. After that we lived as nomads. I mostly slept at home in the cold. Sleeping in the cold wasn’t really a problem—I did worse on purpose when I was a Boy Scout—but getting to bed and getting up were painful. I took showers at work, and never had the nasty little locker room there seemed so nice.

The whole episode was enormously discouraging. The week just felt lost—no one I talked to managed to get anything at all done during the week, at a time when there was a lot to do, and at the end of it we all felt (and looked) shell-shocked. What lousy pioneers we would have made! A mere six days without power teaches you just what a soft and wimpy weenie you really are. And perhaps more to the point, how spoiled compared to much of the world’s population.

But enough of my pathetic whining! We’re long since back to taking electricity for granted, so on to other things—

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