Category Archives: myYard

in the aftermath of irene

Hurricane Irene garnered immense media coverage. The local television stations preempted all programming to bring us non-stop coverage of the storm before it happened. The weather dudes were all over this. Honestly, after watching hours and hours of the hurricane forecasts, I may have enough hours to get a degree in meteorology. This storm was huge and the news coverage was huger. Really huger, and I totally meant to type huger. Irene even eclipsed good grammar.

I sat transfixed as the anchor and pretty co-anchor on Action News reported as we saw a live picture of the Philadelphia skyline, “You are now seeing what so many are experiencing right now. Gray skies and lots and lots of rain.” The pretty little co-anchor then exclaimed, “Pelting rain. I experienced this myself today.” A stunning example of the in depth and truly gutsy journalism we were subjected to.

Our fearless leaders all over the Mid-Atlantic worked tirelessly to close down the cities, evacuate citizens and shut down mass transit in anticipation of the devastation to come. New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City and other locales up and down the I-95 corridor declared states of emergency before the first raindrops fell. Not only did they shut down everything, they were kind enough to explain to the frightened public exactly what to do to prepare for the worst. This was not just your average bread, milk and eggs run on the grocery stores, no this was all out, hunker down in the bunker with three days worth of water, canned goods, and toilet paper.

Here in the suburbs of Philadelphia, people were out in droves making preparations to weather the biggest hurricane in 50 years. I’m embarrassed to admit, we started our preparations too late. A full day before the storm hit, there was not a battery or flashlight to be found at Home Depot, CVS, or even ACME.  As I spent my time hauling all our deck furniture, plants, bird feeders and other potential projectiles down to grotto under our sunroom, Brni secured the trash cans and tested the gas generator. We even identified the safest place in the basement to hunker down in case the hurricane spawned tornadoes. But we forgot to get D batteries before the stores sold out.

I was terrified.

Now that it’s all over, I feel it important to record pictorially for posterity, the damage in the aftermath of this massive and deadly storm that we suffered in my tiny quarter acre of suburbia. We feel lucky to be alive.

There is a stream at the edge of our property. Not only did it flood its banks, but it started creeping up the southern side of the gully. We feel lucky that it only dislodged a couple of discarded bricks.

Lost harvest
lost harvest 2
Tomato on the ground and half eaten by a nearly drowned chipmunk.

Birdbath destruction
birdbath destruction
Not only is this birdbath on its side, but all the water has been spilled. This was a prime mosquito nesting site. Lost. All lost.

Fallen twigs and leaves
deck devastation 2
Would you look at the size of that twig? We’re lucky the deck held.

weird projectile
This pointy tree-thing could have put out someone’s eye!

downed twigs 2
Thank god no one was standing on the walk when these came down.

Fallen rake
fallen rake
We will pick this up!

Yes, there were areas hit with more severe flooding, power outages, damage and sadly, some loss of life. My heartfelt sympathies go out to those who have suffered, and I am truly grateful that we got away easy on this one. Almost makes up for the media overkill.

missing my yard

I’m starting to think that I’m either missing something very basic, something that is maybe key to everything or there’s something I’ve lost. I think this because recently I’ve been plagued by disturbing dreams at night and then during the day I sometimes find myself standing in the middle of a room with the distinct feeling that something is missing.

My life feels out of focus. The world seems to be all blurry around the edges. Just a little over a year ago, things were crisp and very clear to me. All the parts of my life were fitting nicely in place — the irons were in the fire and the ducks were all lined up neatly in a row.

and now they are not.

This morning I decided that part of this feeling of loss is being made worse because I haven’t been able to lose myself outside. When I work in the yard, I enter a place that is private, wordless, sensual. It’s the same place I go to when I sculpt or paint. I lose myself in the yard and feel more present, more alive, more connected. Losing myself is where I find my place. But, we’ve had so much rain lately, that it’s been impossible to do any yard work. The few times I have gone outside, the mosquitoes have been relentless. I haven’t been able to spend more than a few minutes in the yard without being eaten alive. And ya know those all-natural-no-toxic insect repellents? They are not fooling these mosquitoes, no way.

So since the day today was so lovely — warm not hot, dry not humid or raining, I took the opportunity to clean out the grotto of accumulated junk. The “grotto” is just the bricked in space outside the basement door in the back, which I believe was the original brick patio which is located under our little sun room, which was the original back porch. One of these days, I want to turn the grotto into a cool, romantic outdoor room but right now it’s the place where we keep the lawn mower, garden tools and other assorted junk that we probably don’t need.

but first, i sprayed my whole self with deet.

and then i took some pictures of my yard.

my tortoise sculpture peeking out


jimsonweed flower


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