Since posting a Travelogue essay on what I’ll miss about being away, enough has happened to get me to write of something I won’t regret leaving behind as we sail across the world. Beginning last Sunday night and lasting through the entire next day, we were assaulted by fierce winds with frequent gusts of over seventy miles per hour. Electrical service went out before dawn on Monday.
It’s Friday now, and we still don’t know when service might be restored. When I went out to check on generator and fuel supplies, I heard that classic roaring of the wind that sounds like a locomotive bearing down on you at high speed. The sky was an eerie grayish-green and tree parts flew like javelins through the air. Later, when I walked the land after the storm, I found some of those branches driven six inches into the ground.
That’s not all I found. The majestic oaks that line the river bank had fallen — twenty trees in all, including some spruce and pine. A profound sadness enveloped me as I took in the destruction. I realized how much I’ve come to love these handsome hardwoods that had stood guard by the river since before I was born. There’s nothing for it but to have them cut up and hauled away — what once was a refuge is now reduced to refuse. Bright sentinels along the paths of my daily walks, beauty in constant motion saluting me as I walked down to the boats, silent greeters welcoming me home at the end of a day on the water, those trees will be dearly missed.
So, it’s the loss and the sadness that comes with this ravaging weather that I will not miss. And yet, I won’t escape this completely as we travel. The schedule for the coming cruise has us stopping in Puerto Rico two days before Christmas. Much of that hurricane-battered island has been without power and safe drinking water for close to a month now. There’s no comparing the arboreal mess in Maine to the Puerto Ricans’ life and death struggle.
But there is a connection between us that heartens me: one of the reasons our power won’t be restored for some time is that many line crews from our electric company up here are in Puerto Rico right now, helping those folks through their devastating outage crisis. And just a moment ago, Daryl, our fuel delivery man, came to the door to say he’s been out calling on all his customers to make sure we had adequate supplies while we’re still off the grid. He told me that we’re fine for now, but he’ll be back to check on us as often as we might need him until the power is restored.
We are all connected in our losses and in our caring. That is something I’ll never miss.