Monday night there was a dramatic electrical storm: lightning lit up the house like strobe lights flashing, thunder rolling in waves like the ever-pounding shore surf. I had thought that was the worst of it, but the following night was the most severe of the storm, called a “bomb cyclone” Nor’easter. Tues night’s wind blew up to ninety-four miles per hour and caused the most damage.
In the middle of the night, I heard my phone ping and checked it for a text, but there was none. That was between 1:30 and 2:00am, when the power went off. I woke up to a cold dark house, misty rain, still strong winds. Did anyone have power? I couldn’t see any lights down the street. In the cemetery across the street, a huge tree had fallen and its roots pointed into the air.
I soon learned that most of Cape Cod and eastern Massachusetts including the town of Plymouth was without electricity. I was out of food, having planned to leave the Yarmouth Port house that day to move in with my son and his wife in their new house in Falmouth, on the southwestern side of the cape, for my last few days. Worried about losing power on my phone, I thought, how did we ever get by without GPS on our phones? How would I find my way to their Falmouth house if my phone died?
I drove to Falmouth in the rain. At the corner of their block, a tree had split, carrying a power pole with it as it fell. It would undoubtedly be a few days until power was restored.
Around the neighborhood, large branches and whole trees were down, some blocking major roads. One tree fell on a house roof; there were fences broken, gutters bashed. We talked in the waning light, lit a candle, and used flashlights on our phones to negotiate around the house. A few portable chargers helped keep our phones alive. I had no wi-fi at the Yarmouth house and had spent those first two weeks mostly off the grid, checking email on my phone sparingly. Now there was no power, no lights, no Internet.
According to the Cape Cod Times, many of the hundreds of repair crews on the Cape were forced to wait until winds died down enough to be safe to use bucket lifts to repair lines. We cheered to finally see service trucks on the street. The blackout lasted from Tuesday night until Friday evening.
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