Saturday, November 3, 2012

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Five days after Hurricane Sandy, we drive to the Tiverton summer house. The sky is robin’s-egg blue, and it as warm as a day in June.

Incredibly, the blue hydrangeas on the side of the house are blooming again, and the purple morning glories creep up the porch as if they haven’t a clue it’s November.

Outside of twigs scattered throughout the yard, the property is just as we left it last Saturday: the aluminum boat overturned and belted to its trailer, the redwood picnic table upside down, our powerboat hugging the back of the house where it is anchored.

Last Tuesday, the day after the storm, my husband was here; and the salt marsh had transformed into a river that crested 20 feet from our neighbor’s back door. But today, it lies dormant, taking a rest from its exertion this past week.

Reflecting the sky and mirroring the sun, the Sakonnet sparkles like blue diamonds and barely ripples in the light wind. Yet, here along the beach Sandy left its tracks.

All along the waterfront are huge rocks, carried on the high surf and deposited in the road and on our neighbors’ front lawns. It looks more like the terrain on the moon than a sandy beach.

A picnic table situated on the flat curve of horseshoe-shaped Fogland State Beach looks like it has been set down in the middle of a desert, surrounded by hills of sand.

Yet, despite these signs and the lack of electric power for days, the swipe Sandy made on our coastline left no scars; and we thank God for the close escape.

Before the hurricane, the Weather Channel was background noise in our house; and after the onslaught, CNN took its place.

Images of Sandy’s wrath on Staten Island and all the other seaside towns in New York and New Jersey flash across the screen. The vision brings tears to my eyes, as the death toll of over a hundred continues to rise.

Most of the stories tell of the bravery of countless souls: the N.Y. firemen fighting a conflagration in hurricane winds, neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping anyone in need.

Yet there are also those of people behaving badly: homeowners who are afraid to leave their battered houses because thieves wait in the wings ready to loot, or The Bad Samaritan, who refused to open his door to a women begging for refuge for her two little boys, who ultimately drowned in the storm.

Today in Tiverton we pick up tree limbs and armloads of rocks. We move on unscathed but aware that if the trajectory of the storm had veered a little to the right …


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