You may imagine that we here in Spokane are wimps of the highest order: Wind? School closures? Pull it together people! But the truth is that hundreds if not thousands of giant trees fell in this wind. We don't have wind-friendly trees here. We don't have bendy palms built to withstand sustained gusts of 71 mph. Our deciduous trees fared fairly well, simply letting go of their last few kite-leaves. But our pines and spruces flew through our skies like maces of war. Spruces are thick with needles like sailcloth. And they have shallow, wimpy root systems. They remind me the Tonka trucks people drive around, all jacked up and tough lookin', but it's all show, all compensation. I felt bad about it later, but I actually laughed when I saw their spindly spaghetti like roots upended and exposed. I'd never imagined that such stout trees had so little in the ground. Meanwhile, the pines snapped like uncooked spaghetti noodles. These huge, ancient trees propelled through power lines that went out with fireworks and rainbow explosions. All over town. Every street and every corner. 198,000 customers (and by that they don't mean individuals, they mean points of service) were without power, the foundation of our civilization. The threads woven above our heads, the crocheted electricity upon which we now depend for every bit of our basic survival needs, dissolved upon our heads.
The kids and I headed up South Hill to run a few errands I'd planned days before, but as we drove up Stevens Street a garbage can toppled and was pushed up the hill, on it's side, next to us. It got it's own lane, a bus following it, and kept pace with us. That was when I knew we were in for something special.
|Sunflower stalks survived the windstorm wa-ay better than spruces|
Most of the stores went down then. And with that, all of the milk and cheese and eggs and meat and tofu and every single frozen thing from ice cream to fish to frozen entrees in Spokane was gone and had to be thrown out and it would be days before we got anything like it again. My chicory coffee would be cut with evaporated milk that week. It was so so sad. Facebook became a beacon of information. We turned to it for the list of a handful of stores that were open, running on generators or using flashlights and taking cash only. One needed a guide to open gas stations so as to not run out of gas in searching for it. The lines were long. This went on for a modernly improbable number of days.
|Apple rose prep|
The next morning all was quiet, calm, sunny, perfect. The wind did not return for a long time, as if we'd used up all our allotted invisible-miles-per-hour in just one evening. The 300,000 people without power needed to keep warm and the smoke from their wood stoves settled over the region and that is what we breathed.
Our freezer and electric juice were opened up to all who needed it. And they did.
|Coyote taste tested his lemon bars by cutting a circle out of the middle and filling the hole with lemon slices, oh so decorative!|
Today was the first day they returned to school. With some amount of senior-itis, I skipped church yesterday, shoving them all out the door without me, beyond desperate for some alone time and unable to wait even one more day.
We discovered this morning that lunch boxes with half-eaten lunches were left in back packs for nearly two weeks. We also discovered forgotten homework assignments. And now things will get back to boring and bleak normal. At least for the three weeks until Christmas break.