From the trenches

Pfffft, what’s a bit of wind?

Pffft, what’s a drop of rain?

Come on, guys it can’t be THAT bad…

…can it?

Igor came; he rained; he conquered. I picture him as a schoolyard bully who, after not making any friends in Bermuda, promised to take out his wrath on the next island nation who dared cross his path. (Hey, Igor, YOU crossed OUR path! We were here first!) He’s the kid in the back of the class who spent the lesson on meteorology carving “Igor wuz hair” on the desk with his pocket knife. (Hey, Igor! Hurricanes GIVE UP when they blow north! Yeesh, get with the program already.)

Last Monday night Sylvia pulled her new trick of waking up at 1 a.m. Typically it’s bum-boob-back to bed, but that night I turned on the TV to the Weather Network. The tropical storm warning had been just upgraded to a hurricane watch for Newfoundland. The pelting rain on the roof took on an ominous beat.

Five hours later, the rain was belting down just as steadily, and by noon the wind, oh the WIND! Travis was home for dry clothes twice by nightfall. We lost the cap off our chimney and my canoe rolled around a bit, but otherwise I could safely say Igor? Who’s Igor?

Until I took a drive to the main highway. Or tried to. Gone. The road was gone. There was no more road! It was jaw-dropping. It was incredible. And it was only our own little corner of the world. In the days (daze… hehheh, get it?) to come, the magnitude of the destruction kept growing. Cut off as we were, it was hard to imagine anywhere else could be as bad off. As the roads were opened and our world got a little bigger, it was obvious that we were just one devastated town among dozens.

By Friday, Sylvia and I had enough of rationing toilet flushes and reading by flashlight. We we got the hell out of Dodge just as soon as the Barbour Bridge opened. As I drove toward my house on Random Island, I wasn’t sure that there was even going to be a house left for me to visit. But there was! And it was intact! And dry! Not a drop of water got in through the foundation or the roof – a relief, seeing as last I heard from my tenants was via the Weather Network and a video they had sent in of rushing water in Elliott’s Cove (video is entitled Major Flooding). I was so relieved to find my house high and dry (though my tenants reported the water came withing two feet of the back door) I didn’t notice the downed trees. Apparently one came within inches of the sun room.

We made it to St. John’s around 8 p.m. just as electricity was being restored to the Bonavista Peninsula. Travis, who spent the week shuttling people to and from Port Rexton and Plate Cove and responding to a discovery of potential explosives with the volunteer fire department, was glad we were out of his hair safe and sound. And he was probably glad I wasn’t around to fight him for the first hot shower in 5 days. (Oh who am I kidding, the first shower, hot or otherwise).

There’s still a lot to take in. The devastation. The military. The government’s relief efforts. The human kindness and inevitable cruelty that crisis brings to light. I imagine we’ll be weeks getting back to our regular family routine. The province will be years erasing all the physical damage that Igor wrought. What a storm.

Some photos, if you are not already sick of hanging guardrails and chewed up pavement:

I'm pretty sure those pipes belong somewhere else...

Like here, maybe.

Once upon a time there was a happy little road...

...and then Igor came along and smashed the road and stole his lunch money and threw culverts up in the air.

What are we looking at, here? That line in the middle of the picture is the pavement. It's now at eye level from where we're standing in the ditch (of what used to be a whole lane).

From above, the road looks like this.

Impassable. Roadwork was already underway here when Igor hit. Now contractors have some work to do over.

During the storm, (and for two days afterwards) the bay was brown from all the silt and runoff from washouts and waterfalls.

Mind the gap.

The drop here is approximately 30 feet deep.

Sylvia and I are home now. I’m amazed at the reconstruction that has taken place in the four short days we were gone. There is still a long, long way to go, but emergency supplies and travellers can get through if they pack patience and maybe a patch kit.

Winner of the Clothesline Biscotti Contest will be announced this week – there is still time to enter if you haven’t already done so. Also, My run? The longest run of my life? I did it. We were team “The Shore Four” and I ran the first leg.

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5 responses to “From the trenches

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