Sunday, January 10, 2016

Staying Warm and Dry

I was going to continue along with the Salt Marsh Trail in Eastham that I started in my last post before the holidays, but the weather today made me change my mind. For those unaware, New England is being hit by a Nor'easter, a term that has always struck me as kind of funny. The typical accent New Englanders are known for, lacks the proper annunciation of R's, so how we should pronounce it more accurately would be No'th Easta. I read an article somewhere (can't remember where, so this is not fact, just my memory and opinion) that it was originally pronounced that way until those outside of New England got their hands on it and changed it to Nor'easter. Just a random thought for today. Any way you want to call it, its a storm with lots of rain/snow and wind.

The rain is blowing sideways today, and it hasn't stopped hammering down for hours now. It's gotten dark at this point, but the constant sound of it drumming against the house continues. My cats have been finding comfortable perches at the windows, trying to catch a peek at the less fortunate animals stuck outside. They are smug, I am convinced of this. And seeing as it's my day off and I did not have to go outside at all, I am too.

We have only lost power once today, and it didn't last more than ten seconds. I phrase it that way because losing power is a way of life on Cape Cod whenever there is a storm. Most of the trees on the lower cape are locust trees and scrub pine, with a smattering of blighted oaks and some other hardwoods. All of the trees have to grow in what is essentially sand, in fairly constant wind, so they don't get very big or tall. Due to the unstable ground, many trees blow over during strong winds. Locust trees are the worst in my opinion. They start out as these little thorn bushes, and grow into skinny tall trees that fall like dominoes without too much force. I happen to be allergic to their pollen and sap, so I doubly hate them, though they do look pretty when they are covered in string of little white flowers.
Because they are so fragile, fast growing, invasive, and horrible, they do a number on power lines. In recent years, the utility company has done an amazing job cutting back the trees for the sake of the power. There has been some opposition to their efforts, due to people obsessed with Cape Cod being "quaint", but in my opinion, I'd rather have a few less trees and not lose power for 3 days in the middle of the winter in a place too isolated to have big businesses with generators. But I digress...

Despite the efforts of the power company, we still lose power when it's windy. It's just something we expect. Don't be doing anything that requires power during a storm because it's likely to go out at any time, for variable amounts of time. The internet might come back with it, but that's another gamble. Hence I'm writing this on my laptop in case the power dies while I'm writing this.

Wind can be extremely problematic here. There isn't a lot of land, and the trees are not that big, and our buildings are small, so there isn't much here to slow the wind down. It cuts right through, in some places its only a few miles from ocean to bay. I'd want to take a video of what the wind is like at Campground Beach, but I'd be in danger of going blind and losing a few inches of skin because of the sand whipped up by the wind. Even in the summer, sometimes the wind will pick up enough sand to rub your skin raw and drive you behind umbrellas or off the beach entirely. When it's cold, its even worse. So no pictures or video for you, use your imagination.

I love rainy days like today, provided I get to stay inside and hibernate while it's happening. Most of the time I'm out and about, so days that I get to watch it outside while I'm warm and dry inside are even more wonderful. I've moved a few times today... gotten a few chores done around the house, made food, took down the Christmas decorations. Whenever I sit for more than thirty seconds, I end up with a cat on me. I notice it more this time of year, because it's colder and the cats want to cuddle again.

I did a bit of rambling today, but my goal is to tell people what it's like to live on Cape Cod, year round. And in the winter, that means we get horrible wind storms that knock out power, and it only makes the news if nothing horrible happened in Boston recently. We were out of power for an entire week once, not due to a "Nor'easter" but just a freak wind storm that only hit the cape. No one knew about it. Thousands of people, many elderly, were without power, and many of our roads were impassible because of fallen trees, but not a word about it on the news. In the summer, if there is so much as a stuff breeze coming toward the Cape, everyone cares and it's news again. I prefer the winter, when no one notices us, but I also prefer it when we have power. Stay warm and dry, people.