LAKE MACBRIDE— The sound of chain saws echoed through the neighborhood yesterday, including in our yard where a tree service climbed the Autumn Blaze maple tree and removed the broken branch high in the canopy. They also removed a large branch from the maple tree on the north side of the house. The branch was growing toward the structure, and could have fallen on it should another intense storm come through. It seems increasingly likely another intense storm will hit, sooner rather than later.
The storm peeled back the southwest corner of the metal facing on the roof. From the ground, it appears there is water damage to the underlying wood, it will have to be inspected and repaired. One can accept the reality of intense weather, caused by climate change, but it is much more than words on a web page. The work of recovery absorbs our resources and time, and portends more of the same. Dealing with disasters, even small ones like ours, is not how we intended to spend our life when we were in grade school.
On the plus side, there is a buyer for the firewood the disaster will produce, and finding an inexpensive tree service will be an asset going forward. I bartered some of the cut maple wood with a neighbor who will use it to smoke meat. In return, he will press some apples into cider. The storm’s wake left more neighboring than I can recall in a long time.
According to the U.S. Census, our household is above the median net worth for people our age. Not by much, but enough so that to say we are working poor is inaccurate. Poor people don’t have a net worth. At the same time, trying to make ends meet is challenging.
The reality of working seventy hours per week for less than a living wage, is there is less time, energy and resources for everything else. At the center of this life is the notion that we can maintain priorities and get the most important things done. Add disaster recovery, and the equilibrium is upset.
It’s approaching 5 a.m. in Big Grove, when I’ll depart for the newspaper, hoping to finish the week’s proof reading and catch the grand opening of a new restaurant in town before heading to the orchard for work. In the hour or two of daylight after my shift, I’ll glean a garden plot to make room for the disaster brush pile. Once that is done, organize for our presentation at the library on Sept. 30. We make plans, work the plan, and hope for the best— sustaining our lives in a turbulent world.