Friday, May 28, 2010


Please direct thoughts to Peter Orlovsky, who we've just heard isn't doing at all well


Hi all, in case you were wondering ~ we've been without power or phone for the last three days. It's the flipside of what I consider "bliss". Having the Internet and the Birdhouse and our bookshop wired is one fabulous. Being knocked out cold and back with the river and the grasses and woods and loves is quite the other. Handle both as bliss.

On Wednesday night I was out after dark recording barred owls squawking and raising all kinds of ruckus across river. Pitch black but for the stars. I looked up and said to Kokomo: "It looks like no storms or that rain they were all predicting. Sleep well."

In two hours everything turned upside down with a tornado wind, hail, a blast and sound animals know about — they hide, or some come to your lap and jump into it, looking up into your face with a What's happening? gaze. Heck if I know.

We watched the light show and watched the modern world cave-in and slept under pelting rain on the roof and a breeze like a tropical islandia visiting through the windows.

The next morning leaves from miles off seemed to be in the yard. No trees down by some miracle. This wouldn't be the case getting out of here and to a job site only a half hour away. That would take three hours to get to...after one detour after another on all the back roads. Even Brattleboro was in a pickle, no power and so no gas pumps working. We had 1/5 a tank. Suddenly seeing all stores and businesses black, people outdoors talking, traffic slowed down in an immediate emergency crawl. It had an old feel to it. A workable ease.

We tried a few of the back roads we knew to get us closer to the job, no luck. Maple limb busted down hanging wires, another maple all down across the road. Like a behemoth. We needed gas and headed south to the next town. The kid came out shaking his head, arms in the air, no gas! Keep going south, to a bigger town, they had gas, now we're an hour away from the job and in another state. Wizzle our way back home taking the smallest roads, along the brooks, chancing no trees would be down.

We did get to the job, three hours later and stopping to visit with friends along the way right on the border of Massachusetts. All their many trees up, house okay. We had a glass of lemonade and a cupcake with them...caught up on old times, and then kept going. It wasn't hurting a thing to be house painting from mid-afternoon into the evening and no one home. When they get home they'll find a fully mature sugar maple gone over. Generators are running in many houses as we pass-by. One small house has two huge trees canopied in the worse way right over the roof.

Out in open farmland it was sad to see an old survivor maple tree busted up in many wars and hanging in there well over a century old. But this storm caught it just right. Knocked it over flush at ground level and it sort of keeled on its side like an old timer knocked down in a bustling crowd. No one stopping to help him. He's just frozen that way holding himself from completely falling down by one arm held out. That was this tree. Its human appeal.

the photo of the big-daddy maple tree above is one we lost in a similar windstorm twenty years ago ~ you can see where the tree has already lost a main leader in an earlier battle and some bird or animal once carried one of our sunflower seeds up there and it roosted
this tree went down hard across much ground, and the road, and its top leaves touched the river
we cut it up and used every stick

photo: Susan Arnold