Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Splintered Reality

Well, it's been about two weeks now since Sunday, Windy Sunday...

In a nutshell: I was assisting my mom's transition to her new Loveland abode, when the truck started a-rockin'. Who wouldn't have thought it was just the plains of suburban Cincinnati contributing to ultra-breezy conditions?

Well, I had second thoughts on the drive to our recently established home in Hyde Park. Not only was the wheel tugging on my sore mitts, the car was sidling up on either lane at will. Leaves and other debris were flowing horizontally through the air like a tropical December, and cops were increasingly noticeable along the freeway comforting toppled carbon mammoths. A surreal experience.

Surprisingly, a flip through the dial gave no indication of anything other than automated Clear Channel playlists. No time for easy listening though.

A phone call reassured that Jack was OK (and in awe of the general movement outside), but Elizabeth noted wild branches repetitively smacking on the the panes to get in. Thankfully, no strangers in the house. No harm done.

Driving down Observatory is where it all began to sink in - street lights out, power lines sprawled across the roadways, and excessive amounts of wood holding the candlestick in the library.
Though, the true villain - in all it's intangible glory - was held in a case where felonious gusts were charged.

Hyde Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.
All photos from September 14-16, 2008.

Trees in the streets of Observatory, Paxton, and Linwood (respectively).

Additionally, during the mayhem (and immediately afterward), I scoped out the 'hood for other instances of disarray... and was appalled. The following are what I consider the worst of the worst from our neck of the woods:

Grandin, Hyde Park.
This was a monster - a lot larger than it looks here.

Linwood, Hyde Park.
The whole top of the tree resting against the house.
And again, photo diminishes the magnanimity.

Observatory, Hyde Park.
Another big one split in half.

Observatory, Hyde Park.
It's hard to comprehend the size of this one from the photos, but it was gigantic.
Fortunately it missed the house, but just barely - some ironwork was damaged at
the top. Nevertheless, it still upset the owners, who were sobbing
in the front yard - and rightly so.

Observatory Entrance to Ault Park, Hyde Park.
A couple of extremes in Ault Park, the second of which was really amazing -
the tree completely uprooted.

Erie, East Hyde Park.
Finally, this one was found by my mother-in-law, and was (in my opinion)
the ultimate damage in this area. The top of the tree obviously caught
the wind like a sail, with the eave of the roof acting as a fulcrum.
This tree was just gargantuan, causing substantial damage, and
I wouldn't be surprised at all if this building is eventually razed.

Over the next day or two, we survived on Busken's and Larosa's, were led by wax torches, slept in plein air (so to speak), and get this: we talked to each other! OK, a bit exaggerated, but only to emphasize the real awakening - the whole of our modernity, our culture, our standards, was extinguished, if not for only a moment, to allow us a glimpse into the past.

Yes, the BP on Madison was open and thriving, and other small sectors eluded closed circuits so we could "endure", but back home it was refreshing - people were out, we were communicating firsthand, and it was quiet. No light, no sound, no power; no noise (audible or visual). It was a welcome translation to a lost time.

Aside: My relative philosophical and complacent attitude to the event was aided by the working order of our gas water heater and stove, and a rest from the
feverishly compounding "IN box" on my electric-driven computer.

It's still not only hard to believe that Cat 1 hurricane-strength winds (50-75mph) came through here, but that wind itself could play such a destructive role commensurate with other more tangible forces of nature or man-made destruction.

This said, uprooting trees from their footings, wreaking havoc with the Duke Energy team, and eating by candlelight, is nothing compared with the devastation experienced on the front lines - Texas and NO - nor should it be. We're lucky, and I'm grateful.

I hope everyone else in Cincy fared as well.

It was reported that roughly 1,000,000 homes were without power in the Cincinnati region. My uncle, who lives in Louisville, was also without power, along with tens of thousands of his neighbors. It took roughly a week to get everyone back online, following Duke's reconnection hierarchy - regions, streets, then individuals.

If events like this, along with the issues of Peak Oil, pollution, rising temperatures, and growing technology, doesn't lead one to believe that every home will be electrically self-sufficient in the future, I don't know what will.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

that last photo is crazy.

my car was almost hit...