I'm struggling to start putting down words, because there's so much to say and yet the difficulty of finding a voice for it is great; a thread to start in on the morass of feeling, but starting is half the battle so here goes.
Firstly: God fucking damnit.
Nextly, if you hadn't heard via social media feeds: Krissa and I are totally fine, no damage to property, life or dog, we never lost power, water or internet, but we were tense, and scared - that we would lose windows, that something would hit a window, that the power and water would go down and we wouldn't know for how long... and the noise was awful. All of which is nothing on the scale of what happened to others but it was our personal experience and not one I'd care to repeat.
Our apartment is not blessed with great views, but throughout Monday we watched a tarpaulin flapping on the construction site next door, jabbing backwards and forwards and tearing itself to pieces as the daylight faded and all we had to go on was the sound and the windows rocking backwards and forwards in their frames, and I felt suddenly anxious that our loose, fine-for-now-whatever windows,a few of which have very weak and leaky frames, would be sucked out or blown in. Sudden noises from the neighborhood, bangs, clangs, people whooping or crying out, arrived without context.
Surreally, at around 9pm I spoke briefly to France 24 on their 2am TV news bit, with a head full of confluent tides, rivers and hurricane water domes, nor'easters and the very real threat to the city, the presenter insisted on keeping discussion to my individual concerns and experience, which at that time was nothing more than seeing some downed branches in the afternoon and a worry over how we were going to walk the dog in a hurricane...and then they moved on to Ukrainian elections and the events in Syria. Sorry New York. I didn't really give you a good shake there.
At eleven pm a strong smell of smoke started seeping in the cracks around the windows with each gust, and we panicked. We stood on stepladders in the kitchen trying to see a distant light that looked orange and flickery. It was a train yard light not normally visible from our apartment because trees were being bent around like crazy in the wind.
When there was a press conference announcing that the worst of the storm had passed, we exhaustedly went to bed, after seeing people talk of green lightning and blackouts on twitter and facebook.
The next day the first thing we did was call family and let them know we were ok. Winds were still high and rain came in short frequent bursts. The dog was taken for a walk and after thirty seconds pulled back towards home. We spent time just absorbing what had happened from friends and news and NY1, and the impact had been so divorced from our own experience it was difficult to accept. This is the picture I took walking down to our nearest evacuation center, about 11 on Tuesday morning. They had more volunteers than evacuees (30:25) and had only had 115 of their expected 600+ the night before...so I was turned away.
Sunset Park was almost normal, apart from the debris. Stores were open. The bakery smells on 5th Avenue were incredible.
I know we were fantastically lucky to have weathered the storm so smoothly, but I can't help be angry.
Could this freak confluence of storms and tide happened without the warming climate? Yes.
Did climate change contribute to making this worse? Absolutely.
There is so much to be done, all of it needed, because there is no one easy fix, and the fact that climate change has been pettily contested so successfully that a presidential candidate can slip it into a speech for an easy laugh..makes me sick.
Blue skies for now, but I've collected all my candles and flashlights in a bag marked 'For Hurricane 2013' and I fully expect to have to use it.