I shot this video footage and the closing photograph in the early hours of this morning. Editing, technical work, and choice of soundtrack for the final product were all carried out by the ever resourceful Ron.
I don’t recall snow ever falling on Passover before today.
As Governor O’Malley has observed, we here in Maryland were spared the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s destructive rampage. Not so the people of New York and New Jersey, as you no doubt know by now.
I spent six of my childhood summers in Deal, New Jersey, in a large and stately home that we rented for the season. I remember that the house was furnished with a large library that included a great many Nancy Drew mysteries; I naturally read each and every one of them.
(Stylistically, the house in Deal resembled this Tudor revival edifice featured on the borough’s website.)
Deal was a sleepy, albeit beautiful, little place. For livelier entertainment, my parents would take us to Asbury Park, where we would stroll the boardwalk, shoot skee ball, and much on peanuts purchased at the Planters store. I fear now that all of that is gone.
Click here for some ways in which you can contribute to the recovery effort.
In her new book Glittering Images, Camille Paglia pleads eloquently for the return to primacy of the visual arts. “We must relearn how to see,” she urges us. Paglia continues, her tone is almost imploring:
Children above all deserve rescue from the torrential stream of flickering images, which addict them to seductive distractions and make social reality, with its duties and ethical concerns, seem dull and futile. The only way to teach focus is to present the eye with opportunities for steady perception— best supplied by the contemplation of art. Looking at art requires stillness and receptivity, which realign our senses and produce a magical tranquillity.
Here are some images that may contribute toward that tranquility – or at least, toward a sense of mystery.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines derecho as “…a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.” The rest of us here in the mid-Atlantic region are calling it one heck of a storm. (I like to keep this blog family friendly.) Think of it as a thunderstorm on steroids.
There’s a photo on the NOAA site that speaks volumes. It was taken by Brittney Misialek, a former WGN weather intern. Here’s the caption:
Photo of the gust front “arcus” cloud on the leading edge of a derecho-producing storm system. The photo was taken on the evening of July 10, 2008 in Hampshire, Illinois as the derecho neared the Chicago metropolitan area. The derecho had formed around noon local time in southern Minnesota.
In an article in today’s print edition of the Washington Post, Jason Samenow states: “Only a meteorologist was likely to have made the right guess about the violent storm system that hit the Washington area Friday night.” With respect, I’d like to offer a small amendment to that statement. Readers familiar with Northwest Angle, a 2011 work of crime fiction by William Kent Krueger, will also have heard of derechos.
Although I very much admire the work of this writer, I have not yet read this recent entry in his Cork O’Connor series. I did, however, read the Author’s Note that precedes the text a couple of weeks ago. In it, Krueger offers the following as background to his novel:
On July 3, 1999, a cluster of thunderstorms developed in the Black Hills area of South Dakota and began to track to the northeast. On the morning of July 4, something phenomenal occurred with this storm system, something monstrous. At the edge of western Minnesota, the storm clouds gathered and exploded, creating what would become one of the most destructive derechos ever to sweep across this continent.
A derecho is a unique storm system, a bow-shaped formation of towering black clouds that generate straight-line winds of hurricane force. The derecho that formed on July 4 barreled across northern Minnesota.
Krueger goes on to describe the devastation wrought by the derecho on one of his favorite places, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, “…a land so beautiful it’s as near heaven as you’re likely to find anywhere in this earth.”
The Author’s Note concludes:
Click here for Jason Samenow’s account of Friday night’s storm.
There are plenty of people in this area who are still without power. Our local power company, BGE, has put a Storm Center on its website. In addition, the Washington Post has some useful information concerning numbers to call, if you need further assistance.
On August 28 I wrote a post entitled “First an earthquake, then a hurricane…” The first line of the post is “What next?”
I now have the answer that question: what has come next is rain – drenching, deluging, unremitting, unceasing rain.
The historic district of Ellicott City is five or six miles away from us It consists of a few blocks antique stores, eateries, and various other independently owned small retail establishments. There’s the B&O Railroad Museum and a recently opened hotel, the Obladi.
Most importantly to Ron and me, it is home to our favorite restaurant, Tersiguel’s.
Old Ellicott City is bordered by the Patapsco River; a smaller river, the Tiber, runs behind some of the shops. Nestled in a valley, it is in its way quite picturesque, and normally a pleasant place to stroll, dine, and shop. However,Old Ellicott City can also be described as geographically unfortunate. Over the years it has been plagued by both fire and floods, making it a somewhat Biblically resonant place. On Wednesday it got walloped yet again, as shown in this video, which was apparently screened as far away as Brisbane, Australia:
(Tersiguel’s can be seen intermittently; it’s the white building in the far left corner.)
We’ve been lucky so far – no loss of power, no leaks or floods. But because of uncertainty and continuing rain, we had to cancel our trip to see the excellent small person and her equally excellent Mom and Dad:
Instead, we will go next month and help celebrate her first birthday.
Going without the sun for days on end has been one of the hardest aspects of this siege of stormy weather. Day after day of waking up to a sky the color of dirty dishwater can be profoundly depressing. Meanwhile, they’re calling for more precipitation. As one forecaster plaintively put it: Somebody turn off the rain machine! Actually as I write this, the Blazing Orb, so long hidden from view, is trying to emerge from its cloudy obfuscation. (Well, really, I have to have just a little bit of fun with this!) Go Sun, go! We’ll take what we can get. But alas, it is already in retreat….
Just kidding, Mother Nature – JUST KIDDING…
It’s been an eventful week. First, Tuesday’s earthquake, an event so rare in these parts and so bizarre that you couldn’t credit what was happening, even though you knew it couldn’t be anything else. Then yesterday – Saturday – along comes Irene.
Here in central Maryland, the storm seemed to reach its apogee last night around 2 AM. As I write this, it’s just after 10 AM, and the worst appears to be over. Winds are still gusting impressively, but the rain has pretty much stopped. It’s gradually and steadily getting lighter.
We’ve been fortunate in regard to our premises. There’s no obvious damage to the house (though we’ll be going out later to inspect the roof). The basement is still dry. Most crucially, we have not lost power. This is almost certainly due to the fact that the power lines hereabouts have been placed underground.
The grounds are littered with leaves, twigs, and small tree branches. But the driveway remains unobstructed. And as I look outside – mirabile dictu – the sun is trying to come out!