November 2011


I am still dragging five loads of brush, limbs, and tree stumps to the curb every day. Thank you, “Albert,” for keeping my arms in shape, now that kayaking season is over.

Not in CT this year

After “Irene,” many trees turned prematurely brown. Perhaps their leaves were damaged by heavy salt content of the accompanying rain and winds. A hint at the possibility of a dull fall.

Extended Indian Summer provided hope that, somehow, the maples might erase those previous weeks and resume their transformation into autumn brilliance. Mission impossible with no frost or cooling nights before “Albert” dumped heavy snows at the end of October.

Fall color is cancelled. All along the Connecticut coast, it’s the same story. Leaves either ripped away, shed, or clinging in dull browns, muted oranges, and pale yellows.

For me, it’s hard enough to say goodbye to summer’s delights. The usual cacophony of color soothes my disappointed and  cocooning spirit. Not this year. I wonder if October’s storm suggests a brutal winter. Or perhaps that was the worst of it. Ah, time will tell. One thing I love about this Earth–certain of its secrets can’t be pried loose, even by the best of scientists.

Last week, we had no power, which means, for me, no water. I considered every drop of water I used. How much do I need to brush my teeth? Wash my face? How many more toilet flushes do I have before I must trek to the creek for refills?

Now that my power is back, I can easily meet my needs. But I wonder if I should pay more attention to my water consumption. According to www.drinktap.org, each of us in the United States use 69.3 gallons of water every day. Every day! England, for example, uses only 14% of what we do (http://chartsbin.com/view/1455).

Don’t get me started on the use of bottled water (107 liters per person per year in the US) …..

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No electricity: no heat, no light, no water. No computer, no internet. Quiet. Still.

Only birds calling from tree to tree. Cats purring. Neighbors’ voices, as we check in with each other. It’s 30 degrees outside, 36 in, so no frozen pipes. I mindlessly flick on the light switch to the basement to retrieve bird seed. As aware as I might think I am, I am also still on autopilot. In the geothermal cellar the temp is 44. No wonder the cat spent the day on his cushion down here.

Meanwhile the Earth rebounds. Snow clods slip noisily to the ground and trees stretch their bent branches skyward. The creek collects runoff as the temperature inches its way upward into the 50s by afternoon.

Quiet, as we adjust our activities. Listen to the morning news on the battery-powered radio. Still 700,000 without power. My turn will not be soon. Read during the day, work outdoors on fallen branches and smothered bushes to generate body heat. Cook on the outside stove and clean up before dark. Then nestle under covers for a long winter’s nap. Back to the daily rhythms dictated by Nature. It’s not so bad.

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