We were out in the yard transplanting sunflowers and cosmos last Sunday afternoon when we noticed the massive stormcloud blowing in through the big gap in the Westport Hills, right over Nicholls Pond. It was Amanda who said she thought it might be a good idea to take cover, and get the remaining planters under cover, too.
Well, to be honest, it was Amanda who was transplanting the sunflowers and cosmos, too, and lazybones here who was hanging out in the sun, pretending to be engaged on other projects.
Anyway, it was already a breezy day, but as that big old stormcloud drew closer, trailing sheets of gray under it, I allowed as how she might be right. Was she ever! Howling wind, horizontal rain, and a temperature drop that felt like 20 degrees replaced the sunny day in just a few minutes. Dogs, cats, and people fled inside. It didn't last long. An hour later it was as if it never happened, only chillier.
It wasn't till the next day, when I went in to town to get the mail, that I noticed the fresh scars and fresh stumps along Main Street and on the Library Lawn. It seems each year more and more of our magnificent old trees are going down. By then, the messes been cleaned up by the quick responders on the town crew, who do such a great job for us.
I swung by the Town Office to find out how bad it had been, remembering the severe windstorm that did so much damage just a bit later than this last year. Supervisor Dan Connell was there, and he told me that the storm had knocked power out in several pockets, including Ledge Hill, Angier Hill, and on 9N up toward the Northway. Trees had fallen across power lines on Sherman Road, which might have accounted for the outage at Angier Hill. As far as he knew, power had been restored everywhere by early Monday afternoon.
Dan had kind words for the power company, saying he thought that recent trimming work and hardware upgrades in the area had probably prevented the outages from being longer and more widespread. He and other officials were publicly critical of National Grid after that windstorm in February of, I think, '05-remember, the one that was followed by four days without power combined with a wicked cold snap? It was in response to that criticism that the improvements were made.
Here's a reminder that NPR reporter Brian Mann will em-cee a benefit for young artists at the beautiful property of Martha Swan and Vitold Arste on Sunday, June 7, from 2 to 4 p.m.. It includes the talented actors who do Shakespeare-in-the-Park and the musicians of the Westport Chamber Ensemble. They need your support this year! Call 962-4758 to make your reservation.