Thursday, July 19, 2012

Incredibly lucky

And now a break from your regularly scheduled triathlon posting.

 Holy crap!  The big tree in front of our house came down in a freak storm yesterday, falling, luckily away from our house.

That's my house.

From the other side.

Neither of us was home at the time.  The storms rolled in around 4:30.  I was waiting them out at work cause I'd biked in, so I watched the radar as a big red splotch moved over our neighborhood.  At 6:30 it looked safe to return.  I was much more concerned about cycling through an electric storm than anything else.  Mostly the roads looked fine.  There were some big puddles but otherwise unremarkable.  Until I got to the fields near Alewife.

Bike path near Alewife.
Other side of that tree.  Sort of amazing how shallow the roots were for such a big tree.
Bike path between Alewife and Lake St.

It looked like a tornado had hit.  And from there the warzone continued.  Streets were blocked with branches and debris.  More neighbors than I've ever seen were milling about.  Without power, most were surveying the damage, pulling branches from backyards to the curb, and taking pictures of the damage.  Then I pulled up to my house.  Other than the tree blocking the bike path, our was easily the biggest.  But, shockingly, luckily, it seemed to do very little damage.  Even to our neighbors across the street.  The tree was resting on the power lines, but hadn't done any structural damage.

We are, it seems, the worst disaster-prepared people ever.  Do we own a flashlight?  I think so, but I have no idea where it is.  Matches?  A lighter?  Same story.  With no power and a phone battery already down at 20%, it wasn't going to be much help.  I have a small, battery-powered reading light that I used to navigate, and I borrowed a box of matches from the neighbors, so I could light the stove.  I was hopeful that the power would come back on, so I didn't dare open the fridge.  Pasta with olive oil and garlic salt for dinner!  Maybe we should have a few more staples to choose from.

At 10:30pm, the city's tree removal crews rolled in.  I watched them for half an hour as they sawed off branches as big around as me and winched them into the wood chipper.  It took them about 3 hours, but there's almost no sign of the tree this morning besides some saw dust and a ruptured sidewalk.  It had been awe-inspiring to see the raw destructive power of mother nature, but equally amazing the ability of man to clean up the mess so quickly.  Our power came back on once the tree was removed.

Where the tree was.

We also lost a few branches on the side of the house.

Seriously, this tree has seen better days.

I still can't get over how lucky we were.  No structural damage.  All our windows were closed, so no rain damage.  Time to invest in a flashlight.


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