Hey Bud, where’d you go?
Ah, the joys of spring. The red-breasted robins were busy at work digging worms in the yard, seemed like more and more every day. The green of the spring bulbs was poking out of the ground, and I swear the crocuses were about to bloom at any moment. Off in the distance from the windows of the train one could see the color coming back to the trees. A glow from the red buds formed at the tips of the tree branches that fill the valley. The warmth of the sun caressed our faces again, and none too soon.
Then the sky grew ominously grey as storm clouds formed. The loud alert on the phone startled me as the message from the weather service read, “TORNADO WARNING.” I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing. We never have tornados here in the Northeast—or so I thought. As darkness fell around our home on Mohican Lake Road, the winds began to howl and the radar on the weather channel displayed the culprit. Bright reds and yellows showed the band of bad storms headed our way. No fear: I had been through this before, and knew that power would be out shortly. Preparations were made, and sure enough, just as I sat down, the power went out, followed by stronger winds and hail. Storms are always a bit more frightening in the dark.
The storm passed, as it always does, but was soon followed by the lights of emergency vehicles racing down the road. Unbeknown to me, a short distance away a 100 mph micro-burst had touched down, cutting a swath through a thicket of tall pines. The area would prove to be as wide as a football field and three times as long, filled with downed tree branches, all red tipped with spring buds. I saw the photos before I was able to view the area firsthand , since the road was closed for a week. Up close what I saw put me in awe of the ferocity of Mother Nature in her destruction, and I felt blessed to have been spared any real damage to our home.
One never knows what the future has in store, and it seems Mother Nature was not done with her own version of March Madness. Weather forecasters rarely get it right, something that is a blessing and a curse. A blessing when a bad storm misses us, but a curse when they get it right. Such was the storm they are calling Stella, the blizzard of 2017. New York City fared better than predicted; it was spared the brunt of the storm. But the Northeast from Washington to Maine was shut down because of it. Some hard-hit areas saw more than three feet of snow; I measured 30 inches on my back deck. Weeks later, I still have almost a foot of snow covering the lawn in spots, not to mention the mounds of snow that may be here till June.
We can’t blame the weather for all our tales of woe; nothing can beat just plain stupid. Such was the case on the first day of service that the Port Jervis line was back on a regular schedule. Early that morning, a young man down the line at the Suffern Station decided to drive his car off the platform and wound up on the tracks. No tragedy, just delays. If you still are in need of a good laugh, Google the video of the Amtrak train roaring through the Rhinebeck station before it was plowed and watch the people standing too close become human snow-people for their efforts.
Ah, spring buds, we can’t wait to see you again. Hurry back.