We sat here in the dark, freezing. It is being called the 'Blizzard of 2013" and it was all that the news reporters talked about for the past two days before it arrived. They told us that this was to be a record breaker. The governor of this state banned all auto traffic from Friday at four in the afternoon. Forecasts for the amount of snow were made and the Cape had a very questionable set of predictions, most of them for a lot less snow and general misery than was anticipated elsewhere. The snow started in the early afternoon. The wind, it started its appearance later in the day and continued, along with the snow, all night. Our power was lost at around four on the first morning and the wind and snow just kept coming. Had we prepared? Not adequately. We had enough food but not enough fire wood. At six in the evening we sat freezing, beside the fire, coats, hats, blankets all being used at the same time. We had a battery powered radio and candles and our cell phones, fully charged. But, we kept looking out the window, hearing the wind, seeing the totally grey sky through the small patches on our windows that were snow coated, and we felt very, very helpless and alone.
We live in an apartment, on the top floor of three. We were attracted to this home because of the windows that grace two of the rooms. Our living room has a commanding view of a pond, afforded by an entire wall of almost floor to almost ceiling windows. The front of our home, the kitchen and bedroom, look out to a parking lot and garage which holds both of our cars. we've been living in this apartment complex that is for the over sixty set, for the past six years and each time it has snowed, full crews of road clearing vehicles and men with shovels, have been outside our doors working, oftentimes before sunrise, even for the smallest amounts of snow. Many times I have remarked about how foolish it was. Why are they out here so early, nobody here has to go to work. But today, not one snow plow or shovel had arrived on the scene and we felt cold and stuck . We couldn't leave to find some warmer place if we wanted to despite the kind invitations of friends. Our cars are bound by the large snow drifts which are resting against them in front of the garage and the road is impassable.
We will survive this. It is not the worst thing that could have happened. I usually like snow storms, or at least I used to. The fact that I was born in a snowstorm, got married in one, and probably will die in one, aside, I loved to watch the snow falling and found beauty in it. I especially enjoyed snow storms when I did not have to go anywhere, no job to get to, no kids or husband on the roads to worry about. But today, I am feeling very different. I’m feeling isolated and forgotten. Our radio tells us that the rest of the state is recovering nicely already, that the sun is shining in the Boston area and that while there is a lot of snow accumulated, people have power, heat and needs met. We’re told that the power outages are not uniform across the Cape, that we are simply one of the unlucky neighborhoods.I picture those families, warm and having fun in the snow and I'm reminded of a poem by Irving Feldman, called "The Pripet Marshes". In his poem about the Holocaust, Feldman creates a perfect day, his friends transported in his mind, before the arrival of the Germans who break their fists on hollow doors.
But, I am having an overwhelming sense of what it is like to feel abandoned and unfortunate and I’m realizing what people who have been victims of disasters, much larger than this, have felt. Never before have I really understood the cries of the victims of Katrina, the more recent, the unfortunate residents of areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. How scary that must have been and how desperate those people must have felt.
The feeling of abandonment is one powerful emotion. It’s the stuff that makes babies cry and the elderly in nursing homes weep and disorient. It’s the kind of thing that nightmares are made of. Harder to deal with than the fact that the interior temperature of our home must have gone down to the twenties, that the firewood rapidly diminished, that it was pitch dark in here except for a few candles. Feeling abandoned reminds me of a dream that I had as a child, one of the few that I can recall all these years later. It was one in which my older brother and I were walking home from our grandparent’s house in the early evening, at the end of a day. Suddenly, Paul ran off into the dark, leaving me alone, alone, all by myself, shouting his name to no avail. He was gone and I was alone and I was terrified. I still get shivers when I think of how I felt in my dream. Well, he’s in Mexico now, on a nice vacation in a warm place, totally detached from what is going on here now. We've both grown up and now I have a husband who I know will never leave me alone at the end of the day.
My big brother hasn't exactly abandoned me. He’s just another of those lucky people who I am so envious of right now. He’s one of the people on the radio.
I’m going to bed soon. I just want to wake up to a day like the radio people are having.