Tuesday, 30 August 2011


In Greek mythology, Irene (Ειρήνη), was the goddess of peace. The name Irene means serene, peaceful. It's ironic that the hurricane which pounded the east coast of the US this past weekend was named Irene.  This Irene was full of wrath and fury, and there was nothing tranquil about her. Along its path hurricane Irene caused widespread destruction: floods, power outages, property damage, and unfortunately some deaths.

I am very grateful that we, here at home, fared well. Our house held up. No power outages, no water or any other type of damage. As a rule, our neighborhood does not flood. However, there are a lot of very large trees growing in our area, and some of them topple when we have powerful storms.  

Such was the case Saturday night, around 2:30 am, when the eye of the hurricane was passing over us. While keeping vigil in the garage, I heard a very sinister sound.  It was brief in duration and very loud.  It really scared me.  A few minutes later I heard a similar sound, but it seemed as though it was coming from farther away.  "This is really frightening thunder," I thought, so I gave up my vigil and went into the house.  About an hour later I heard the sound of truck engines and the buzzing of power saws.  I grabbed a large umbrella and stepped outside.  Rain was falling in swift and powerful streams.  The torrent was illuminated by the street lamps and I could see it being blown back and forth as the wind changed direction.  My umbrella was of little use, and I should not have been outside, but my curiosity had gotten the better of me.  I saw an enormous tree trunk lying by the side of the road. I realized that the sounds I had heard earlier were not thunder, but trees being uprooted by the wind.  One tree fell right next door to us, the other a bit  further down the street.  By the time I had gone outside, the township workmen had already cut our neighbor's tree and had moved it off to the side so that it wouldn't block the roadway. The root trunk had been lifted and placed back on the curb. I counted five trucks on the scene, one of them from the gas works. All in all that was a very quick response time.

The work performed by our township crews was well organized and efficient. They worked under severe weather conditions and did an excellent job. Way to go Drexel Hill, PA!!! As for me, I was soaked to the bone. I went back inside and changed. I didn't go to sleep until about 10:00 am Sunday, after I was sure everything was alright. I slept for five hours. When I woke up all I could think to do was to go outside and take pictures. It turns out I forgot to take my medications... didn't even think about them until I started feeling dizzy and rundown later that Sunday night. I guess I am not as efficient as our township crews.

In late afternoon, I surveyed the damage. By then the rain had stopped and the hurricane had moved north to New York.

Here's part of the trunk, back on the sidewalk....  Poor old tree!

Here's the root trunk next to the hole where it used to live... Those roots were underneath the sidewalk, which as you can see lifted up and dislodged.  Tossed like a paperclip.  All this happened in seconds.

Yup, that's one big hole.  Even the road has been torn up.  Perhaps they won't just patch it up...  I hope they pave the whole street.  Wouldn't that be nice?

The rest of the trunk.  The air smelled sweet with the scent of the oak sap emerging from the injured branches.

On the lawn repose branches.  Big branches.

Another view of the catastrophe next door. 

The second tree that fell.  "Bradley Tree Experts" had already been on the job and had removed most of the branches.

The sidewalk was upturned...

This was a surprise.  I didn't expect to see a lamppost hiding there. 

Two windows and part of the chimney destroyed, plus a large part of the roof.  Looks like an abandoned house in the woods, doesn't it?  It's not.

There had been a van parked in front of that tree which miraculously survived any major damage.  It was left with just a dented quarter panel.  The tree branches reached to the house next door and destroyed part of that roof. 

Some homeowners were very, very lucky.  Here there aren't even any leaves to pick up.  Our lawn was littered with oak branches and leaves.

Families walked over to take a look.

Some homes had smaller damage.  This Japanese maple must have been diseased.  It had almost no root system.   
By the way, I've always loved the exterior of this house.  It looks like an English or Irish cottage.  We call it "the white house,' because it is after all, white. 

Yes, we do have some rather large trees in the neighborhood.

These oak trees are majestic.  I hope we don't loose any more of them.

Our house withstood the wrath of Irene.  Our lamppost still works, however it needs propping up.