On October 31st, instead of getting our Halloween candy ready for children who might come to our door, I was putting out snacks for 20 and making dinner for 15, as we remain one of the few homes in our New Jersey town with power. Halloween by the way has been “cancelled,” it is too dangerous with downed wires and trees to be walking around neighborhoods. This is the second year in a row Halloween has been “cancelled” due to a weather disaster.
Here are a few more pictures of the devastation in my local area, where clean up is being done by neighbors helping neighbors as the town and the state remain overwhelmed.
We would have been trapped in our cul de sac, perhaps still, if it wasn’t for our neighbors son and son-in-law who used their chain saws to release us from mother nature’s captivity (the blade bent on the saw and is so worn it can’t be used again.)
Life is “precarious” and we don’t even realize how fragile the connection to “normalcy” is. My family is so lucky..no one injured, lights and heat are on. But many of our friends are “toughing it out” in cold dark homes, which can’t continue too much longer..I imagine we will be pulling out more sheets, blankets and air mattresses if the power stays off as predicted, for a week or more. At least we aren’t trapped in a home surrounded by sewage filled water, as citizens of Hoboken, NJ find themselves today, and at least in our town, homes may be damaged but can be repaired, unlike many homes on the Jersey shore that are simply gone.
These pictures are of lines building and forming at one of the few gas stations that has power in our area. An unexpected and not widely discussed problem that is growing day by day is the shortage of gas and in some communities, access to clean water. Not only are people running out of fuel for their cars and figuring out ways to conserve, but many homes that do have generators need gas to keep them running and the lights and heat on. A local town facebook group has been “reporting” on gas stations that are open and have less then a 2 hour wait for gas. In some communities electric power to water suppliers remains off, and water rationing and the need to boil drinking water has begun. Are any of these wake up calls that when we rebuild, we should consider other options besides fossil fuels and “drill baby drill?”
The presidential elections, which had occupied much of our thoughts and discussions these past weeks and months, are now only 6 days away, yet seem like a distant and unimportant issue. As my children’s schools remain without power and closed through the week, it isn’t clear we will even be able to vote. Local schools are our polling stations. As hundreds of thousands of homes remain without power in the New York tri-state area, and therefore millions of people impacted, can the elections even actually take place as planned? Climate change, it’s impacts on the economy, jobs and our future has remained off the campaign trail and the candidates stump speeches. History will write more about this, but it seems to me that Mother Nature decided to put our changing climate, and our need to do something about it, squarely on the “table” and “up front and center. Human caused climate change is a fact of life that can’t and won’t be ignored.Life goes on, the sun is rising and the sky is clear today, as you can see from this picture I took this morning from my front door. But somehow I feel that life will not ever be quite the same as it was before Sandy roared into town.