So I’m still here, and working away at the new semester. But September has been a wash writing-wise, for all sorts of reasons–a big one of which was the hurricane.
Hurricane Irene hit New England hard on August 28. In Vermont, it washed out roads and covered bridges and left entire communities isolated. In Connecticut, flash floods blew through the middles of towns and left puddles the size of city blocks. In my part of Massachusetts, it took down trees by the score–and power lines with them.
My house lost power on Sunday at about 11AM, when a tree fell at the end of our street and brought spaghetti-like heaps of power lines down with it. We weren’t entirely surprised by this–while out walking our dog that morning, my wife and I had pointed out that tree as being very likely to come down (I make no claim to any prognosticative talent thereby–the tree was long dead and had been dropping rotting branches onto the road ever since we moved into our house two years ago). A neighbor put out some orange cones around the downed tree; we packed our food into a cooler and played Scrabble while the storm went on.
Then another tree went down, on the other end of the block.
Then the first of the telephone poles came down…and then another…
Once the storm ended, the damage assessment started–and it was kind of a doozy. It took the utility companies a couple of days just to clear the roads, and nearly a week to restore power to my neighborhood. By the time power came back on, I had four days left in which to write the syllabi I’d so blithely assured myself I’d get done in the two weeks before the semester started–and I’ve been scrambling ever since to catch/keep up with the daily work of the semester.
I did find this bit of information interesting: according to NPR, the last few years has seen some of the heaviest hurricane seasons since the Middle Ages, which paleotempestologists (archeologist/stormchasers who must have to order extra-long business cards) have pinpointed as having been something of a golden age for great big hurricanes. They figured this out by combining data from inland lagoon sediment layers, coral growth patterns, and other sorts of evidence. The full article is here (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111809658), and offers a glimpse into a world of medieval research far away from my nice dry libraries and archives.
Anyway, with this particular hurricane having passed with no more serious effects for us than a fridge and cooler full of spoiled food and a hectic start to the semester, I’m definitely feeling a bit of guilt over neglecting my writing (both here and elsewhere) over the last few weeks. Back to the grindstone…and all the best to those elsewhere (especially in my fondly-remembered college stomping grounds in Plainfield, Vermont) who are still recovering from more serious consequences of the storm.