"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rolling and Strolling in the City

As my Sunday Stroll I'm posting activities of Friday and Saturday, as well as first thing this morning.

On Friday I headed towards the Seacoast to meet a friend for lunch. It was a beautiful, warm day--a real August sort of day, not at all like September. I had my car windows and top open so I knew I was near the edge of the continent by the first aromas of salty air.

A window shot of Great Bay taken on the bridge crossing.

We had a yum lunch at Friendly Toast then went our separate ways. Strolling up Market Street, I shot the renovated steeple of the Congregational Church.

I headed to a discount store in Newington to look for a second pair of Oscar de la Renta sunglasses I'd bought at the Concord store. I love love love them and wanted to stock up, only Concord didn't have additional stock. I found a single pair. While strolling through the shoes, I came upon a Jack Russell terrier trying out dog beds. I asked if I could photograph him.

The two choices.

I'll take this one!

His companion human and I had a lengthy and fascinating chat, found all sorts of common interests and experiences, plus her husband is a candidate for State Rep. While we were talking, Hogie fell asleep on the quilted dog bed...he made the right decision!

I headed back over the bridge for home.

Nearing the Lodge, I confront the devastation from the tornado on both sides of Route 4. I cannot adequately express the feeling of seeing the levelled houses and trees on each side of the highway, and in that exact spot I look to the north and see the very mountain that begins--or ends, depending on your perspective--in my own backyard. The proximity of the tornado and the randomness of the touchdown points hit me all over again.

Late yesterday the Chap and I drove to the airport to collect my sisters-in-law, who are spending 10 days in NH. Hurricane Hanna was already looming over the city, portending future disaster.

While we waited for the plane to land (it got in early, but so did we), we strolled round studying the installations. Lots of sculptures from the Institute of Art, and a series of moose.

A blue moose.

A birch bark moose.

A moose with leopard spots.

We went straight to our favourite Mexican joint, La Carreta. It was pouring rain, the Chap dropped us at the curb before parking. Inside, we found some friends of ours dining in an adjacent booth.

After their flight, our girls wanted something wet and cold.

We had a lovely dinner. Then we dodge the downpour and headed for a store to look at a rug...only by that time Hurrican Hanna had flooded the parking lot and we couldn't get to the doors, which had flood barricades up.

Continued on through the deluge to the Lodge. Ruth and Jewel were thrilled to see their aunts, who headed off into the rainy night with one of our vehicles on temporary loan.

The rain poured overnight with such ferocity that I was truly alarmed about rivers and streams. Water was dripping down the inside of our chimney, so we had to put a tub inside the opening of our bedroom fireplace to catch the drips. We heard a tree crash down somewhere in the woods beside the garage.

First thing this morning, I strolled onto the big deck to retrieve the newspaper. The big gardening tub was the fullest it has ever been. The worst of storms leaves about 4 to 6 inches depth. It was several times that amount.

The brook at the edge of our property had jumped the road, and was pouring into the little lake.

We learned from television news that the road to the village where our church is was closed due to a washout. We decided to go anyway, the long way.

But our own road--which was rebuilt and re-graded only last week--was severely washed, completely carved up by the intensity of the rain. In places it was down to one lane, with great chasms on the side and fissures running across the road bed. We just managed to make it to the hardtop road.

The river passing through our town and along the valley has overflowed its banks and is at flood stage. We passed a campground near the river, which had been evacuated, but I could see trailers that had been badly flooded. The dam in the village was terrifying to behold.

After church and Adult Forum, we came home the usual way--the closed portion of the road to our house was open again.

Some of my constituents downriver received word on Friday of a Federal buyout of their homes from the floods of 2 years ago. Others received a refusal. I suspect that the situation down there is dire, but I pray not. We had two 100-year floods in the past three years, and based on what I saw this morning, we might be having a third.

Ironies of ironies, tomorrow I will attend a Board of Selectman's meeting with reps from the Feds and state agendies, about the recommended restoration of the river (now at flood state again), which altered its course in the Mother's Day flood of '06. The geomorphological term for what happened is "avulsion," and but it's easier and just as description to say that our river is "broken."

And a week ago, I was so concerned about the Savannah relatives, little guessing that Hard-hearted Hanna would be visiting my community instead.

For better, drier (I trust) strolls, head here.

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