Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Critical Mom's Stormy Weather

I write to the sound of buzz saws cutting off the branches that are still hanging from last night's storm.   Mother Nature was not feeling maternal.
Yesterday evening my husband barbecued and we ate on the patio; it seemed moderately cooler out there.  When the clouds came, we were not alarmed, but we did bring in the laundry and the guinea pigs.  By the time the lightning started and the sky turned green, it was raining so loudly that I could hardly hear myself think, and the trees bent alarmingly out my second floor window, to the point where I began to wonder about our roof tiles.  
In the morning we could see the house next door a lot better . . . but it took my middle child to realize why:  "Mom!  The tree's not there anymore!"  But it was . . . in pieces all over the street . . . and it's now been chopped into logs that will burn nicely in our fireplace next winter.
It took a trip to the grocery store to let us know how bad things were.  On our way home from getting our rabies shots for our trip to Peru, we thought we'd buy dinner.  But the grocery store was closed.  Edeka, the local supermarket, had lost a big chunk of its roof, which lay in a tarry mess on the street in front of it.  Across the street, I found a big plastic piece of what used to be the "A" in "Edeka."  Trying to make our way home, we entered streets so clotted with fallen branches that we had to turn around, and saw a number of uprooted, large trees, one of which had crushed a blue car.  Dazed, we finally got home via roundabout routes, and when I said the weather was "interesting," my daughter pointed out that it was "disastra-mazing," and my husband remarked, "This is the kind of weather you only see on the news."  I thought of Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder, the beautifully illustrated Caldecott-Award winning children's book about a storm, and the calm with which the inhabitants of Maine handle it:  "We're going to have some weather," they say, and "It's a comin'!"  By the time the storm hits, the folks in Maine have already rolled towels and placed them by doors and windows.
But we didn't know it was a-coming, and we still don't quite know what hit us--a typical June storm, or a global-warming climate-changed storm?  Some of those fallen trees were awfully big.  I haven't seen anything like this since I was a ten-year-old inhabitant of a Vermont summer camp for girls.  One July night it stormed, and the crack above our wooden cabin was so loud that three girls on the other side of the shack vaulted out of their beds, ran across to our section, and climbed in bed with us.  We thought a tree had fallen on our roof.  It turned out one had been split in half by lightning, but a ten minute walk from us, down by the lake. 
Signing off, to the tune of sirens:  the forestry and fire departments are busy today and tonight.  Tomorrow, the kids have a day off school, and even the day after that, since apparently we're going to have some more weather.  It seems to have been a really good time to get those rabies shots.  I do have that very third-world feeling about what happened today:  would not want to live in the land of Panem; hope the politicians will address global warming in a significant way, and that the five deaths in our region will be honored through significant changes in policy.

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