It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning as I write this. Outside my living room window I see sunshine and blue skies creased by wispy clouds.
It is all a deception, because they say another nor’easter is on its way. Nobody ever says “northeaster” by the way, because it just doesn’t sound right.
Why do we suddenly start talking like a Maine fisherman when we describe these storm systems? These are the kinds of things you think about on crisp, sunny March morning when all seems right with the world.
The last nor’easter wasn’t all that bad in this corner of Pennsylvania when you see what it did to other parts of the state and the eastern seaboard. Eastern seaboard? I can’t seem to get past my own vocabulary this morning. They always say eastern seaboard without actually saying where that is. It is defined as the coast, and we’re a long way from that, but also as the land bordering the coast. I guess that includes us up here in Nor’eastern Pennsylvania.
So it didn’t look so bad Friday, and I was itching to get away after several days of isolation due to some copywriting deadlines. There was shopping do to since our recent return from Florida. The roads seemed quite clear and the sidewalk barely covered at the time. The greatest deterrent seemed to be the wind, already gusting at high speeds, battering outbuildings, rocking trees and utility lines and toppling lawn ornaments and garbage cans. Overall, there didn’t seem to be any serious deterrents for a drive to Wilkes-Barre, but by the time we got to Tunkhannock, we settled for a quick shopping stop at Walmart and realized home was the best place to be.
Pulling up in the driveway, I noticed the wind was on the verge of tearing away our gazebo. We always remove the canvas top of what is essentially a big tent when winter weather sets in, but we didn’t this year. Thanks to that lapse, we saw that the once sturdy and upright corner posts were almost parallel to the ground and the buffeting wind was constantly threatening to yank one or more of them from their moorings altogether. The legs had had been secured well below ground level when we installed the gazebo five or six years ago. The whole structure looked like a misshaped morass of metal and the canvas top had actually drooped so it was more like a ship’s sail than a roof. It was taking the brunt of the 40 to 50 mile-an-hour winds. The wind was so aggressive that removing the canvas from its secured corners was virtually impossible, if not dangerous, at the time. We would have to wait for the wind to subside.
Miraculously the gazebo, though broken, bent and mangled, literally held its ground (more accurately, the ground held it) and we were able to remove the resilient canvas, eliminating the amazing pressure applied by the winds, during a lull the next day.
Had it been the kind of gazebo with legs supported by platforms atop the ground, the whole structure would have likely been carried away to parts unknown.
Today, the deformed metal frame looks like a modern sculpture. I may leave it that way, pointing to visitors and saying, “Well, how do you like it? I call it ‘Nor’easter Manifestation.’”
But that was our only reminder of the previous storm. I say previous, because we are supposed to be on the threshold of another nor’easter when the Rocket is put to bed Wednesday night.
Except for the wind, we somehow seemed to remain in a protective cocoon. There were no power outages on our side of town and even our often weather-sensitive Dish reception never missed a beat. So we soon learned, upon watching the weather reports and Facebook warnings from people not so far away from us, that (a) we were very fortunate and (b) we made the right decision to turn around Friday.
As an addendum, I should point out that we did make our getaway late Saturday morning after determining that the best direction to go was toward Williamsport. On the other side of the Sonestown Mountain there was, lo and behold, no snow and any traces of it has disappeared. It was as if we had crossed into a place that the surrounding storm forgot. Williamsport seemed virtually untouched, as those who attended the district wrestling tournament there will attest.
That is why everybody talks about the weather. We returned home from Williamsport, turned on the TV and we saw people still stranded on the interstates and regional roadways, with people still suffering though power outages and no relief in sight.
So I guess losing a gazebo isn’t a big price to pay, and I only have myself to blame for that. My only question is this. Does this mean March will go out like a lamb?