And Face the Strange

The unnamed university sent out an email describing in cold, technical terms that its employees should come to work this morning, weather or no weather. This was followed by the city declaring that only emergency vehicles should be on the streets, so everyone stayed home and a good thing that was: once a road into the city was cleared, the ambulances and helicopters ran to the two hospitals all day. Even so: people gathered on the bridge, the flooded highway and in the parks to see for themselves what the rain had done and the river was doing.

Yesterday, as the eye of the storm sat over us, Pete and I got on our bikes and rode over to the family stores. Rainstorms have typically not been kind to the buildings that house the stores and this one was an outright bastard. We could tell the basements had been flooded differently, one more than the other, and both were draining. Boxes that’d been left on the floor were wet and there were too many of them for us to do anything to help the situation. Discouraged, we rode over to a house we’d promised to look in on and found that too had a full basement, draining after a flood. It was fortunate for us, then, that the catsitter arrived and though we had keys she plainly wanted us out. We rode over to the bridge over the river, where the flood raged and a carnival atmosphere prevailed. We took pictures that astound us still – and we were there.

We also went back last night to see the progress of the river’s recovery and we were not impressed. Though we walked this way and that, we could not find a clear, safe path to the unnamed university. I called Gianna, my boss, who lives three blocks from my house and whose picture window is safety glass for a reason, and told her there was no safe way across the river that wouldn’t end in a ditch on the back roads. She called this morning to say the head of the libraries had decided there was no safe way across the river, period. Thus, I had the first snow day of my illustrious career that involved no snow whatsoever.

This morning, we got on our bikes and went back to the bridge. For the first time, we could see the road along the river was under the river as it was currently constituted, horrible pun unintended. The water level had fallen remarkably, perhaps as much as ten feet, but the river is tidal and officials are saying tonight that by morning the level might be higher than last night’s. That would be very bad news for commuters. Pete and I are fairly confident we may be able to cross the river on bicycles in the morning – probably. Our housemate drives one of those rescue trucks for AAA. We haven’t seen him since Friday afternoon.

I had such a good snow day I made compound butter of sage and rosemary from my garden with a little lemon juice. In the winter, smeared under the crisping skin of a roasting chicken, this butter will remind us of the snow day at the end of summer.

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