The two photos above are by Cyn Sansing Mycoskie of www.cynimage.com; she has many more … but power outage woes are making it hard to get them posted here! The story below is by Anne Sorensen of Lake Bluff; it includes thoughts gathered the day after the freaky windstorm of July 11. The photos below are by Anne and two other GazeboNews readers.
By Anne Sorensen
Certainly, the pace of life has slowed a little as the “new reality,” post-storm, seems to be settling in. People stopping to talk, to share the collective experience. There’s an understanding that the thick canopies we’ve grown used to are gone, as many more trees are going to have to come down over the next couple of weeks. The damage has given everyone I’ve encountered pause. Perspective.
And an upside? Can those who were accustomed to shade-filled yards now look forward to growing tomatoes?
Putting thoughts of a new garden aside, I biked around a 5-6 block radius from my east Lake Bluff home the day after high winds whipped through the area, and, Oh, My. Trees, limbs, wires down in places too numerous to count. Roped off sections of road. Trees with so much damage and lengthy limbs perched precariously in upper branches, or dangling–how much damage can a 30- foot section of tree do if it comes down? Quite a lot, by the looks of it. Might want to keep our heads up for a while, literally, and look out.
The sounds of chainsaws and generators dominate, punctuated by the regular commuter trains. Fascinating shift in our perceptions of noise, or backround noise. It will be quieter again tonight, with such an extensive power outage. Some folks are out grilling, using up what can be used before a complete thaw sets in with our appliances.
It is somewhat shocking to see that the recycling, garbage, and even lawn bags were all picked up today, on time. Or not shocking, but ironic. All tidied up, except for the obvious.
Still, people are out. Everywhere, on bikes, in cars, people stop and say hello. Not unusual, but slowed down from normal pace. And the questions are the same: Are you OK? Did you lose trees? House OK? Do you have power? Speculation on when power will be restored is big, but the evidence is abundant: this was not a drill. We’re in deep for a while. So, the neighbors are helping the neighbors. Those with power are sharing; generators are on loan; laundry, showers, power chargers. Kindnesses amidst the chaos. Picking up sticks, talking a minute longer than normal.
We are quieter, too. It was observed last evening, after as much hearty clean-up was possible, that town resembled Lake Bluff after last winter’s blizzard. Others have said “This is what it was like when we were kids.” And this is not bad: We’ve drawn a bit closer, pitching in together, demonstrating our care. We remind ourselves it could be worse, much worse. We share collective awe at the power of nature, and sympathy for damages–and underlying gratefulness that we are OK.
Before our electricity was restored, I went to a friend’s house to do laundry, as ours had piled up and there was no clue as to when the power on my block would be restored. I prioritized, of course. It would be too much to do all the laundry for a family of five while visiting with a friend. What do we need for the next couple of days? And, why did everyone put wet towels in the basket at once?
There’s comfort in the familiar–be it the heft of a laundry basket, a greeting from a friend … or the ComEd truck rumbling down the street.