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….