I laced up my shoes and headed out for my usual 5-mile loop in the countryside to survey the storm damage.
I turned out of my neighborhood and immediately saw the first make-shift road closing. I ducked under the yellow police tape and stayed far away from the downed tree and the power line. I trudged on.
I purposefully left my headphones at home; the wind blew loudly against my ears. Otherwise, the world was eerily silent with the conspicuous absence of singing birds – just a gang of seagulls squawking in a field, probably gossiping about the recent destruction of their usual stomping grounds. The only other noise was the irritating buzz of chain saws and the hum of generators.
The streets were littered with debris. Mud, pine needles and seed pods… twigs, branches… and… trees.
Occasionally I passed someone outside cleaning up some sort of mess. Everyone looked a little dazed. I felt like I was one of a lucky (?) few who survived the end of the world.
Another yellow tape to dodge… then a more official wooden “Road Closed” barrier at the next turn. My chest tightened a little as I ignored it and ran by. Everywhere trees had been yanked from the ground and lay strewn about the woods and yards – knocked over like tiny plastic figures on a toy battleground.
My anxiety gradually subsided as I covered a good mile with no road-closing events. It was beautiful out there, with the still-swirling grey clouds providing a backdrop for the brilliant colors of empty autumn farmlands.
And the eeriness remained.
Just as I came upon my next turn, I ran into the reason for the road closure, and if you look carefully into the background, you’ll see reason number two:
I figured out a way to climb over the first thing, and for awhile I thought I was back in Indiana running the Eagle Creek Trail Marathon all over again. When I came to the second barricade I had to go through the tree like I was working my way through a dense forest, as it was the thinner, top part of the tree that was blocking the road.
The next street presented even more downed trees and power lines, and I began to wonder if I had taken too much of a risk as the wind gusted and trees swayed overhead.
I completed the loop without further ado, but I’m wondering how long it’s going to take the East Coast to recover from this one.