Here in Montreal, I watched and worried as branches grown to withstand the prevailing northwestern winds of Quebec were lifted backwards, tossed in circles, like helpless arms wrenched by an unseen giant. At 7:22 pm, there was a brown-out. J asked, are we about to become a data point?
But that was nothing. Back in Vermont, there was devastation. The White River, a few hundred yards from our former house, flooded into the basements of buildings, and covered low-lying roads with mud and debris; trees sprouted from the truss-work just below the bridge deck after the waters finally receded. It's very hard for me to believe the river could attain that height; this was the worst flood in Vermont in a hundred years. Here's some video footage from the exact area where I used to live; I crossed the bridge at the beginning of this footage every day.
Many roads and bridges washed out, including some of the historic and picturesque covered bridges that are so iconic of the state. Friends in Strafford and Sharon wrote yesterday to say they not only had lost power, but had no way to get anywhere by car or truck. One of them, fortunately, has a horse. This is footage of the covered bridge in Quechee, Vermont, near the Simon Pearce blown-glass factory and restauraunt that some of you may have visited, also very near our former home:
On the evening before the storm, I was talking to a friend about our love for nature, about how when we're in the country we prefer rustic living because we crave porosity between the indoors and outdoors, and between our own bodies and nature itself: that is the point of being there. And how so many people - both because of nature's violent potential, and because we now live at such remove from it - are afraid of nature, even in its more benign states.
Vermonters are not that way, for the most part, and will get on with it. This is what we all dealt with every spring (footage from the same general area, this is the Ottaquechee River near Woodstock, Vt):
But this flood has been devastating; I hope there will be sufficient assistance of the kind that is really needed. So much of the media coverage about Vermont has been brain-dead; the reporters and do-gooders seem to know absolutely nothing about the place they're standing in. Jim Cantore, of the Weather Channel, was a welcome exception: but he grew up there.