Ten years ago today, I left work and headed to my car, cursing the light snowfall. While not unheard of, snow in October is rare in my area, especially early October. I headed home, figuring that it would stop and melt off fairly quickly--a dusting, at most. By the time I turned onto my street, it was evident that this was no mere dusting, and we were in for a lake effect storm. On October 12th. I made it home early enough that I was able to park in my driveway. I spent the evening listening to thunder and lightening along with the snapping of branches and crashes of tree limbs. I'll never forget it.
My power lasted until about 9:30 that night. It went off in the middle of a very intense episode of CSI. It would remain off for ten days. I lived in the hardest hit area. The next morning I ventured outside to about eight inches of snow. I had no food in the house because, of course, it happened to fall when I needed groceries. I found that fallen wires saved my car from being crushed by a tree limb:
And my beloved hawthorn tree was folded in half like an umbrella:
The street was riddled with fallen trees and branches, along with cars that hadn't made it into driveways. I walked to the corner store, hoping that they were open and doing a cash business, but they were closed. My cat and I ended up staying at my parents' house for a week, since they had a wood-burning stove. My parents' 90 year old next door neighbor also stayed with us. My aunt was lucky enough to still have power, so her house was the gathering spot for us all to get a hot meal and do our laundry.
The area lost tens of thousands of trees during that storm. The weight of the snow was too much for the fully-leafed trees, so the branches snapped like matchsticks, turning the area into what looked like the aftermath of a hurricane.
The storm came during a time of transition for me. I was working two part-time jobs at the time and was miserable at both. I applied for a new job and gave my notice to both my other jobs when I was hired shortly thereafter. To be quite honest, I took that job because I had to. I needed to work to pay my bills, and there was nothing else available. I expected to be there a year, maybe two, tops. Next month will be my ten year anniversary there.
It took ten days for power to be restored, over a month for my phone service to be straightened out, and the landscape was forever changed. When I look back now, I'm amazed at the difference in my life in those ten years. Sometimes change is good.