It was reported that over three million people were directly affected by what New England is calling Snowtober (and 60 million indirectly in some way). Trees, laden with too heavy snowcoats, snapped and tumbled over like children over-bundled in their ski suits. That was only the beginning of a difficult week.
It is easy for us to remember all the negatives, the injuries and the inconveniences–lack of electricity, heat, telephones, and internet. But amid the confusion and stress, there were amazing and lovely gestures. Some that I was directly affected by were: Don, who moved the heavy branches that fell on my car; Diane who knocked on my door to check on me; Denise who offered me wood the first night I went without power and heat; Diane’s husband Matt who delivered a wheelbarrow full of wood, and as much as I needed, when the power remained out for days; a stranger who stopped to help with directions when, venturing out, I met an unexpected detour.
Then there are the local police who stood in the cold at dangerous intersections to keep travelers safe; the medical staff who showed up at hospitals and nursing homes even though they themselves had gone showerless and breakfastless that day; the fire and other emergency personnel, such as Red Cross workers, who managed the shelters; and lets not forget the many utility workers from here and other states who were essential to us getting our power back. From the immediate to the remote, Snowtober brought out the best and the worst in us.
We can remember this event as “that horrible October” or as “that remarkable October” when it not only snowed, but when neighbors watched out for each other; when the actions of people caused little ripples of goodness to spread out; when families were forced out of their routine habits and sat together, played games, shared bread and battery-power.
Whether we wanted to or not, we were pushed into living closer to the way in which the generation or two before us did. Oh yes, it won’t be long before those hot showers, microwaved snacks and television shows feel routine. The power is back on now, and our memories always short. Lets not forget .