We made it! Yay! The last half of the hurricane was worse than the first, which surprised me. The wind would back off for a while, crouching like a cat shuffling its back paws into a better position...shuffle again...once more for perfection and... POUNCE! The back off and repeat. This went on for a good five hours.
Fortunately, Irene was definitely losing steam by the time she got here. We had to eat by candle/flashlight, but the power came back on well before we had to worry about spoiled food. Nor did we need our bathtub full of water.
In the end, the wind did a one-eighty once we were on the backside of the whirlwind. That was hard on the trees. One TV announcer likened it to wiggling a tooth back and forth until it comes out. First the wind pushed one way, then another, and the loosened trees give way.
I really have to hand it to the emergency workers here; they were on the ball. Around here, that includes electricians, town maintenance workers, tree specialist companies, and people manning the shelters, and all sorts of other people I hadn't thought of before. Today, when I drove down to the plein aire group's meeting place, the main blockages had already been cleared or at least opened up.
Before the storm, the birds went silent. Interestingly enough, they were the ones who gave the "all clear." They started singing again while the wind was still doing about 20 mph with gusts around 40. Pretty smart for being "bird-brains," huh?
Tattered leaves lay like spent confetti in the woods and along road edges. Many of the trees have gone brown or bruised looking. A few were stripped.
Even so, with the sun slanting through a thinner canopy, it felt like a brand new day all day.