Friday, March 15, 2019

the wind blows hard up here, and occasionally hooks around from the north, like they used to call nor'easters in both maine and iowa. the nor'easters were wetter than the usual cold hard dry winds from canada and the west - in maine and iowa, it was because the wind had just come over the water. here, it was just a late spring blast, come down from ruidoso and sierra blanca, and what was trouble was the rain and snow that preceded it.

that's because that rain and snow had stuck to the trees, and once it froze, the trees were way too heavy to sustain themselves against the wind. by noon the first trees had fallen on the electric lines, and we were already out of power, but apparently power was out all over the mountains, from about high rolls all the way through cloudcroft, out to mayhill, and weed, and in our land out in sixteen springs. everyone lost power.

now many people in the mountains are quite used to this, and have generators and such, in some cases propane generators, or gas, to do the heavy lifting of things that need power around the house. in our case, heat wasn't an issue - we had wood, and we have propane too. the fact that the refrigerator and freezer were out, well, that's kind of an issue, and lights, yes, it was dark at night, dark all over the mountain, but what really got everyone around here was the phones - they just couldn't charge them. it was like they expected to be able to plug them in at least once a day, at the rate they use up all the juice.

come nightfall, the downtown was eerily dark, with the only light really coming from the large power cooperative headquarters. now this is ironic, because the power coop was out there trying to fix all the downed power lines, and were quite heroic, i'm sure, given the raging wind, the blowing snow, the ice, the bad roads, and all that, but the building itself, the headquarters, has emergency generators, and when everyone else is down, they're still up. so they're out there, trying to cut trees that had fallen on power lines, trying to free up the power lines and get everyone connected again.

around the same time the trees started falling. the first hit our porch with a loud thud and mangled metal roofing came down to block our view of the white sands. when we went outside to see what had happened, we saw another enormous one, listing badly. that one has always appeared to be right over our house, but now, covered with ice and snow as it was, it wasn't clear where it would fall, so we hightailed it out of there. we went next door to our friend the contractor's house, which is a much smaller cabin than ours, but mercifully clear of trees and danger. as we huddled over there, apparently, the big one fell.

"if we'd have paid to have it felled, we'd have wanted it to land in that place, and that place only." It had missed the old propane tank by about three feet; it had missed both houses. it had speared the fence, but basically it landed just perfectly. unlike its friend, which had flown over, and blown off the roof of the porch with a thud.

of the two trees, the bigger one, which had missed everything, was actually a relief to have down, as it had been listing for years. and there were two more: one that hit the neighbor's truck, and one that landed in the road out there in front of our house, not too far from his truck, but still, basically, in the road. the city guys cleaned that one up right away. our road is a staging area for city trucks, so they need it cleared just about first.

we ended up going over a day without power. at night, we had candles, and a wood fire, and it was actually kind of nice, but the kids got impatient with their phones drained and everyone went to bed early, nothing to do. turns out we could do propane as well as wood, and we are back on propane now; i'm just too tired. if i can turn a switch and be warm enough, i'll do it, simply because i work days with raucous teenagers, and i just want silence and peace.

the roads out there are icy; some people as far as i know, are still without power. as with most storms, it's much colder now, when it's all over, and it's become clear out. the jagged remains of the tree stay in our yard, and we let the dogs out on what's left of the porch.

it's all worn me out. i managed to still work a few days, but the middle school kids have caused me to lose my hearing (i fear), and, our plans to move have been set back a little. i'm feeling somewhat paralyzed - sitting by the fire, sewing a quilt, hoping the wind has died down for good.


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