November 4, 2012

North Cairn: Life's storms give way to peace

(Continued from page 1)

A friend stopped by with muffins, pumpkin and blueberry, covering the preferences of both summer and autumn in one fell swoop. We sat, sipping coffee and swapping fictions about the storm: The yacht club had not lost a building to the surge, as had been rumored the night before. It was a boat house, it turned out, one built on pilings, that had already been in the water before the tide rose and positioned it, where it had always been, offshore.

One tree in the neighborhood had been snapped off about 10 feet up the trunk, but the toppling branches had missed the nearest house. A single rooftop had been damaged slightly as though it were the flap of an envelope someone had tried to pry open at one corner.

But mostly the community remained more or less unscathed, and as the day wore on, things returned to whatever it is that passes for normal on an ordinary day: A landscaping crew was on the job by 8 a.m., using leaf blowers to clear a yard. Down the road, someone was playing poor odds on the weather, pinning laundry on a clothesline stretched across an open view of the bay. A woman with a dog walked by, skirting the edges of scant traffic. In what was left of a canopy torn to bits, the birds started to sing.

It was over before it began, we told each other, while clouds of steaming coffee drifted in the morning air, the only fog to negotiate in the light of a new and settled day. The next wave of trouble -- already on the horizon -- seemed slight enough, an incursion of field mice in the cellar. That would be a longer storm, I knew, but like the one just passed, it too would recede in time.

By then, we would have endured snow and ice and troubles we couldn't prepare for or plan on. Life's small victories still seemed much larger than its lesser trials, a fair balance in the aftermath of a storm. We have survived.


North Cairn can be contacted at 791-63215 or at:


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