Monday, July 29, 2013

A Week After the Storm: The Cleanup Continues

On July 19th at approximately 6 p.m. a storm swept through our area.  The rain slanted sideways.  Rain poured in torrents off the windshield of the car.  Even with the wipers on at their highest setting, they couldn't keep up.  I pulled to the side of the road.  The traffic lights a block ahead of our stopped vehicle went out.  At that point, we didn't know the extent of the damage or the extent of the power outage.  We just kept going on, hoping that eventually we'd come to a working traffic light.  We didn't.   As we progressed, we started to see trees down along our route home.  Some even in the road.  Cars gingerly maneuvering around them.  When we got home, it was therefore no surprise to see that our power was out.  For how long, we didn't know at that time.  We went into the back yard and this is what we saw.  It was our first hint of the massive destruction which had taken place in our area as the storm cut in a straight line through.

Since the power was out, we decided to get in our car and take a ride around.  Trees were down all over the area.  People were already out checking on the damage.  We saw where large trees had come down taking power and phone lines with them.  We saw power crews already working on some of the worst of the damaged area.  We saw neighbours helping neighbours.  We saw a fire truck across a street, blocking it, because of a downed power line.  We saw areas where there was little to no damage and all the power they could wish.  Where life was normal.  Then we re-entered the damaged zone where life was anything but normal.  

Yet even there, life was going on.  Not the same way as normal.  People were responding as normally as possible to an abnormal situation.  One restaurant stayed open.  Having what they called a parking lot party.  In one area, neighbours were out with reflective vests, guiding traffic through a street down to one lane because of a downed tree.  Others sat in groups on their porches.  Making the best of the sudden change in their situation.  Like us, hoping it was only for a short while before power - and life as we know it - would come back to normal.

A week has passed since the storm.  It took several days, but the power has been restored to all the homes.  The tree in the picture above is now stacked cordwood by our neighbour's shed.  Yet, the sound of power saws continues to punctuate our neighbourhood - and will for a while.  Many trees are still down.  Jagged stumps of what had once been majestic trees stand in people's yards.  On my walk, I saw a line which I can only assume is a cable line still down, held more or less in place by a piece of tape, a new pole lying on the ground, waiting for the crews to get around to it.

We've heard that it will take a month to get around to taking care of all the downed trees.  Those still on the ground are withering, the leaves turning brown without the lifeblood which once pulsed through them - before the storm.  Before the devastation.

Why am I going on about a storm in my area?  What does a storm have to do with me?  With my chosen topic of recovery from workplace abuse?

I've decided to use this analogy of the storm, its suddenness and lingering devastation as an analogy of trauma.   

Stayed tuned to this blog site for more tomorrow.

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