Yesterday, when I wrote “back to reality,” I never dreamed how unpleasant it would be. Two nights ago, we had a snowstorn that delivered about six inches of wet, heavy snow. It started as rain, then turned to sleet and snow. The weatherman was pretty laid back about this, so we weren’t expecting much.
Around 8 p.m., we heard some strange pops, but figured it was ice falling outside. When I took the dog out, I saw flashing lights at the end of the block and assumed it was a snowplow. Then I saw this:
The big maple in our front yard had split and the branches were lying across our holly tree and the sidewalk. That tree is probably 50 years old, but the heavy snow was too much for it.
So, I turned to the right and walked a few paces before I heard some men shouting across the street. It was dark, but I could that see that something was wrong. I got closer and saw that another tree had fallen and hit power lines. And the lines were touching the ground. I stood rooted, wondering if I’d get electrocuted or hit by another falling tree.
As if a fog were lifting, it became clear to me that something terrible was happening across the street. The distant flashing lights were from a fire truck and firemen were rushing into our neighbor’s house with hoses. There was a weird eerie light inside her house, probably from their flashlights. Then the sound of gushing water and breaking windows. I remember thinking, “Wait, can’t you unlock the windows and just open them? Why do you have to smash them? That’s a really nice old house.” Now I realize that her windows are like ours–75 years old, with strange bolts at the top, sliding up and down ropes. It took our painters a long time to get those old windows unlocked.
But those sounds–the gushing water and breaking glass–will stay with me for a long time. Living in Southern California, I was acutely aware of fires. We even had ash floating in our swimming pool once. But I’ve never been close enough to hear the sounds of it, and never knew someone whose house burned. Our neighbor is taking it really well. She had fire restoration people over at the house the next morning. I am still shaken up by it.
A shot of the scene later that night after two more fire trucks arrived. (The house shown is next to the one with the fire.) I didn’t use flash–did you know those trucks have lights that can illuminate the whole street? This really shows the density of old trees and how they’ve grown up through the power lines. I love our shady streets in the summer, but now I see them differently.
Now, any inconvenience seems trivial. We lost power, which is a pain, but that big tree limb missed our house by a few feet. It also didn’t bring down power lines and cause a house fire. We dodged two major bullets. I am thankful beyond words.
It’s snowing again….
Wow! I am very sorry for your neighbor, but glad that she is ok. I know the photos are not really happy photos, but I love the way you captured the snow clinging to the branches and they look all sparkly.
Thanks. The snow really is beautiful….
The weight of the snow caused power lines to drop just a few feet above ground in my backyard. Some branches fell on them, too, to weigh the lines down even more. I moved them off the line. In hindsight, that may not have been the smartest move, but I like to think I saved our street from a power failure.
Wow, I’m glad you’re OK! The neighborhood doesn’t know it, but you’re a hero. 🙂
Um, probably better not let your mom know you did this….
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There we are in our super civilized world and along comes nature with her forces and reduces us to little tiny animals who fight for their lives. A humbling experience. Fire is so frightening. The second photo is eerily beautiful now that I know the story. We never have such heavy snow or forest fires here but it is icy cold at the moment. Poor neighbour.
Yes, I felt very humbled. Powerless too (no pun intended). Fire and snow just don’t go together in my mind, even though I’ve seen pictures on the news.
Wow. So glad you’re okay and even your neighbor. How scary. We had an ice storm in college and lost power for a whole week (it seems). It was cold and there was nothing hot to eat.
A week! Two days and I’m done for. We’ve been able to heat canned stuff on the gas stove, but it’s amazing how fast that gets old. To think I used to love SpaghettiOs. Blech.
OMG … what a horrendous episode. So sorry about your neighbour and your beautiful old maple. All that said, I’m glad you are safe! Cheryl
Thanks, Cheryl. I really am counting my blessings these days. The neighbors east of the “fire house” still don’t have power.
I’m so relieved you’re ok! You’re right–that could have been a real danger.
I’m sorry for your neighbor. I’ll bet she never, ever thought such a thing would happen to her.
Too bad about your tree. It’s a heartbreak when the old ones start to go.
Thanks, Maura. I think our neighbor was in total shock. Talk about freakish occurrence.
Hopefully the tree can be salvaged, but it will look strange with the left side missing.
What a scary experience! It’s in such contrast to the beautiful photos from Hawaii you posted just yesterday.
The first photo of the tree was amazing (and sad). We had 15 inches here and the tree boughs are hanging low, but I haven’t seen anything like that.
I hope your neighbor is okay and that the fire wasn’t too devastating for her.
Thanks so much. She is doing remarkably well.
Fifteen inches! Be careful out there.
This is a very scary experience and I am so sorry that all of you had to go through this. When we get annoyed or feel inconvenienced we are often reminded of how blessed we actually are. I will keep the family in my thoughts and prayers and thanks goodness it was contained and didn’t spread.
Thanks so much, Mindy.