River of Secrets, My Town is Gone
The song I posted is my rendition of Pink Floyd's, Goodbye Blue Sky. I recorded it many years ago but felt it was appropriate for the occasion.
Darn Irene. Despite the excitement, panic, and overall chaos of the past 4 days, the whole experience seems almost surreal, as if I were in a drugged tired state throughout the whole ordeal. Although many villages in Vermont were damaged severely by the hurricane that hit us at approximately 11:30 on Saturday night, I now find my town virtually unrecognizable, as if a shadow of the place I grew up on and played my entire childhood.
Kicking rubble aside to get out the house, I head today to the swimming hole down the street to admire the ferocisty of Mother Nature in all her glory. Our basement has been flooded to the brink and all the vague attempts to bucket-brigade the water out seem to have been in vain, for it only rises another foot as I take a break to eat a delicious RedVine.
Two friends of mine helped with the brigade. I can't help but feel that at this time, where our community is literally torn to the seams and a sense of hopelessness from the destruction is felt in synchronicity, the society itself has never been closer. My friends were forced to stay the night as all possible routes or means of exit were completely blocked, flooded or, by that point, washed away.
As I approach the swimming hole I notice all the destruction. A bridge that I fished off of only last week has somehow vanished from existence. This bridge has stood strong for the entire 16 years I have lived in Vermont. The entire 16 years I have lived. A long time for anything to stay in one spot, and yet I realize I have not once ever actually thought about this bridge until now. I try not to feel guilty for this is, after all, the workings of all human nature. In general, people tend to take things for granted.. Until they are gone. I promise myself that if this bridge is ever ressurected, I will be the first to express my gratitude in whatever means possible, whether it be a tear sodden speech or a simple toss of a penny into the water below.
I walk further and notice the buildings, A house near a river has turned into an island on a lake. Most of the structure has broken and has long since floated away, but the main foundation remains and two birds have taken refuge on the chimney. The thing about a small community is, you tend to know almost everyone that lives around you. This house belongs to a family of four. The eldest child, as I recall, is now a freshman at my highschool, and I believe his younger brother is going into 7th grade. Nice kids. I can't imagine they would stick around in this mess and I hope that right now, they're relaxing in a five star hotel with room service, a 300 channel cable box, and no view of the river.
I am forced to turn around and walk back to a smaller road, for the river has taken up the ambition of house squatting the main street. Debris floats by above me on massive waves which crash against the ground the river has already carved away so mercilessly. I walk onto Niagra street. Past the trashed road and roaring waves, up a gravel path to the town baseball field. Overlooking the town, this field appears to be the only place that has completely avoided the harsh vandalization of bloody Irene. However the feeling of security is short lived. For as I walk down the path besides the field, I notice, at last, The swimming hole I had been so anxious to see. This strangely enough, is the one part of the river I have seen that has not in fact risen from its original water level, but diminished slightly. Upon further investigation however, I see that this is mainly because the force of the storm has carved away so much at the banks, that the river is now about twice the width it was before the storm, if not more, leveling the overall depth of the water.
Everything has changed. The multi-ton rocks I once jumped off of into the pool below have now vanished somewhere into the murky brown abyss. The thing is with this river of secrets, you never know what is truly beneath the surface. These rocks could in fact be miles away by now, carried upon the back of Hurricane Irene into New Hampshire where they'll be dumped, never to serve a sentimental purpose again. Or they could be right in front of me right now waiting for some drunken buffoon to deside its a good time to go for a swim in the murky Falls directly after a hurricane. I won't know for sure until this is all over. But then, when will it be all over? Sure we'll make do with ghetto-rigged bridges and sand to fill in missing roads, but as for the long term effects, it could be years before all our roads, structures, and bridges are ever completely rebuilt again, and for sure the river bed will never again be the same. I suppose I'll just have to accept it and move on and for the time being, just thank the mighty Thor that Vermonters, truly are the toughest of the tough.