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Friday, May 08, 2009

Whoops, almost forgot

I was sitting here reading and commenting on other people's blogs and Facebook pages when it hit me that I hadn't done a post of my own today. Well, don't want to blow my current perfect attendance streak.

I actually wrote something that would have been one of my longest posts ever last night. It was a condensed version of what I've been going through online for the past four weeks. But it was written as an e-mail, specifically for one person. Maybe someday I'll edit out some of the details and post it. I don't know if I'll ever write the full version. Maybe just for me, so there's a record of the details. So that I don't forget. Ever.

But anyway...

So I went to the Cracker Barrel in York, PA with my mom today to meet my sister. My sister had originally planned to come up for Mother's Day, but her work schedule and not feeling very well have forced her to curtail her travel plans. (She's flying out to Houston next week in support of the final Hubble Servicing Mission - I should do a post on that soon, actually.) The Cracker Barrel in York is roughly a halfway point between her house and my mom's, and it's long been used as a meeting spot when a full-fledged trip isn't possible.

This was my second trip down thataway in two weeks. The Saturday before last I traveled down to Dover, PA with a friend to visit some of her friends for a day of games. The company, food, drink, and games almost took my mind off things for a while. Almost.

Perhaps I had a bit too much to drink that day, as I rudely fell asleep for about half of the trip back. (I wasn't driving.) I woke up when we were about thirty miles from Nanticoke. As we got closer to Nanticoke, it was clear that something was wrong. The sky was red, and full of smoke.

One of the mountains was on fire.

When I got home I followed the goings-on on our scanner. The fire apparently had started near the top of Penobscot Mountain, but quickly worked its way down to Route 309, endangering the large number of vehicles that use that highway. While the fire was fully extinguished in two days, from what we saw today it was not contained before it (or another fire during the same period) had spread south along Interstate 81 to Hazleton and beyond, not tapering off until somewhere past Frackville. Foliage that had just been starting to unfurl two weeks ago was now singed off; trunks of young trees that had been covered with blossoms then were now charred black.

As we drove on it was possible to imagine that the damage was not as great as it appeared, that many of these trees had simply not yet broken dormancy. But as we drove farther south and encountered unscorched trees, this was clearly not the case.

I don't know if these trees are now dead, or if they will be able to bounce back in a matter of weeks or months. And if they are dead, how long until new ones grow in their places? It has been a long time since we last had a landscape-altering fire season. Maybe we are overdue. Or maybe this is another aspect of the New Normal that we all have to learn to live with.

3 comments:

dizzy blond said...

Don't know if you got my reply, as my monitor was messed up and all I had was my phone to reply to things.

I read. three times.. i still have no words, but I want to talk to you more. many questions and more info.

You are such a profound writer and sensitve person. You will make a great spouse, husband, best freind to some one soon.
I just wished you lived closer to florida.

My thoughts are with you and i will talk to you soon.

dizzy blond said...

I read your email 3 times.....still no words....
You are a great writer and a wonderful friend with so much to give.

I can not express what I feel on this post but will write you soon.

Always feel free to contact me or write what ever moves you to me.

I really wish you lived closer to florida.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Fire is often a good thing... For the environment I mean...