03 November 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

The morning after the power went out, I went for a long walk with the dog.  The wind was still blowing, but not dangerously; it wasn't really raining, but water seemed sort of to be sifting out of the sky.  I walked south along the East River, still bloated with flooding, stinking of marine fuel, and marveled at the things that had drifted in with the tide.  When I got home, I wrote the start of a blog post about them:
a pigeon, feet sticking out straight in front, one leg banded
part of an outboard motor
half a porta-potty
several pieces of PVC pipe joing
a gas mask
a small stuffed toy
bee hives in brightly painted boxes
a life vest, inside out
cars left in clumps, like bath toys

Early this morning I thought I heard surf breaking in the East River as the tide came in again.  I thought it must be my imagination twisting the gusts of wind, but when I saw the high water mark in the park, I reconsidered.
People, too, were washed up in the streets, stunned.  People who hadn't taken in the seriousness of the upcoming storm, hadn't had the information or the resources to gather supplies, to make a plan.  Dark stairwells, no flashlights, no water, cell phones drained of power.  A woman stood, anguish on her face, unable to step into the street.  Two lost young men decided they could bicycle to family, one to an aunt uptown, another to parents in Brooklyn. 

Later that day, another long walk.  In the river, two picnic tables, a length of what looked like metal pipe, at least 30 feet long and a foot in diameter, and an entire staircase.  We were driven out of our dark apartment, compelled to see the damage, yet unable to process the enormity of the destruction