Today, I went outside after visiting a family member who is in a local hospital, to remove a good size branch and drag it into the woods behind our home. My husband took care of all but this one, which required cutting. We have not seen this kind of destruction in all the years that we've lived here.
Just a taste of winter fell in our area, prior to the big one on Saturday. Enough of a storm to require my shoveling and ice scraping of the front stairs and inclining walkway. I recall saying that our house was the only one that still had snow, while others, if they had any at all, had already dissapated, and having cleared up, turned into what appeared to be a very nice fall day. The news was that we were expecting more and this time it was predicted that some would get up to two feet of snow. It was almost laughable to hear for the month of October, pre-halloween for that matter, no such turkey.
Living in New England, you do not take anything for granted. We prepared for it. I made a large batch of beef kielbasa with cabbage and vegtables, boiled eggs and made sure we had roast beef and chicken in the house along with bread and water. But, no coffee or tea in the morning. Everything else would be consumed cold, should we run out of electricity. From all reports, they said we would.
Five thirty that evening, I looked out the window to see many of my trees hitting the ground, and with the wind blowing those heavy snow consumed branches, and power lines, I knew it was just a matter of time before we lost power. Sure enough, even as I was thinking it, it happened and we were in the dark. Vesper service which is usually at 6P.M., had already been cancelled. My car was safely parked in the garage, and after my husband's visit to his mother's, we were home for the night. (A long and cold one at that.) I lit the candle in the candle stand in front of the Icon of the Theotokos and turned the radio on, listening to a sports broadcast, we waited for some news. There was news alright, news of outages in our state, and Connecticut and Rhode Island. In writing this, there are still people that do not have their electricity back.
Having no power, means no heat, no refrigeration, no internet, no light, no nothing. Normally, most can stand this type of torment for a few hours or so, but this was way beyond what should have been a standard repair. Schools in Charlton and Sturbridge are still out in this area. That means no day care, as their is no power. No doctor's appointments, and for some, no work as their shops, stores or companies were closed. This is the first time I saw cars lined up at fast food shops with an hour wait for coffee, breakfast or any type of food stuff they could get their hands on. Gasoline stations were the same, as people were running out of fuel for their generators. Some had cords running from neighbors homes, hooked up in order to salvage food in their refrigerators. (I can tell you right now, I never want an all electric car.)
The Red Cross had to set-up shelters in area towns to accommodate cold and hungry people. Luckily, we got our power back the very next day, along with telephone, cable and internet. Many came by for a bite to eat, take a shower, use the computer, and do laundry.
As I sat in the near dark, I thought that years prior, people didn't have indoor plumbing, so they didn't have to concern themselves with plumbing problems, water damage from pipes bursting. They put out their fires every night and oil lamps, jumped into feathered beds to keep warm, and it was business as usual the next day.There were no lines, and the meal was from whatever they grew or bought. They had eggs, milk and food.
The headline of our local paper indicated that there were power lines down on every street. It wasn't like you could go out in the storm, nor after for that matter, as electrical lines were not always visible.
It's been long and winter as we know it, is not here yet. As I lay in the cold dark, I wondered how long my cell phone batteries would last, and if they could not be recharged, how would we reach anyone in an emergcncy? Why do we stay? What is ahead, afterall, we have had this wicked preHalloween storm, a tornado, earthquake, hurricane and all of that since June 1. There is nowhere to go.
We've come a long way baby, and there is no going back. For one thing, there would not be enough wood to burn for generations to come, and no body is going to give up all the modern conveniences to return to the outhouse, horse and buggy. Just what would we do with all the cars?
We will continue to live on the grid. Are the alternatives just too difficult? The way people survived in the past, is far fetched and unrealistic for our now "modern world". So.....where do we go from here, with another winter season fast approaching? What is the cost of living off of the grid to your health and possibly your life and your family, especially the elderly and youngsters, should these storms continue to plague this area? The past few years have shown us that there is reason for concern ahead. These are just some of the questions that you ask yourself, when it is dark, cold and your alone in an all-electric home in an all electric world, besides--where are the flashlights and batteries? And, I hope the snowblower works...
Just Read: The Flag
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