Sandy Passes On

On Sandy morning, the bike path was a ribbon of pine needles.

Not being a TV watcher, I didn’t know if Sandy was a boy or a girl. Was Sandy short for Alexander or Alexandra, or was this Sandy named for his or her red hair?

At the school, the buses were all moved forward, away from the trees.

Yesterday was Sandy Day. Schools were closed and life-as-usual put on hold. While the trees around my apartment waved and swirled, I watched for the photos posted to Facebook by friends and friends of friends: photos of flooded Five Corners, flooded Edgartown, surf crashing over Beach Road and South Beach. The awesome power of the natural world.

Exactly 21 years ago, the No-Name Nor’easter of 1991 flooded Five Corners. The Martha’s Vineyard Times, for which I was working at the time, was about to move into the spiffy new offices that it occupies today. The move was delayed while the newly laid floor recovered from its drenching.


1991 was a stormy year. Hurricane Bob arrived in mid-August, when the island was jammed with summer people and tourists. Bob, like last year’s Irene and this year’s Sandy, was a dry storm. The salt-blasted August foliage turned brown almost overnight. Areas once thickly wooded were suddenly wide open. Lilacs and forsythia bloomed in September. The house I was living in lost power for nine days. We got water from the fire station on the Edgartown Road.

All day yesterday I expected the power to go out. It flickered several times but kept coming back. Finally around 3 p.m. it flickered, died, and didn’t come back. Deprived of storm photos and stories, I entered several months of credit card statements into Quicken while my laptop’s battery dwindled. Around 4, Travvy and I set out for a walk under the swirling trees. The outside lights were on at the West Tisbury School. They must have a generator, I thought — but why would they be wasting generator power when school was closed?

Sandy muted the colors and felled the leaves, but red survives.

Closer to home, I spotted a light on in a neighbor’s house. Huh? At the next neighbor’s, there were even more lights, and my closest neighbor’s house was, as the saying goes, lit up like a Christmas tree. My neighbor was out in the yard. “The power’s back already?” I called. “What kind of storm is this?”

He’d been making the rounds inviting the neighbors over to eat up his homemade ice cream before it melted. It wasn’t going to melt, but he said come on over anyway after I’d had supper. Which I did.

This morning Travvy and I checked the neighborhood for damage. Plenty of twigs and small branches littered our route, but only two trees were down, both on footpaths. At 11 a.m. I had a dentist appointment near Five Corners. Apart from some rather large puddles, the roads in Vineyard Haven were back to normal.

New Englanders like to say “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” It seems denizens of every other region say exactly the same thing, and I’m guessing that for them, as for us, this is usually an exaggeration. Not today. When Trav and I set out for our morning walk, it was overcast. A few minutes later it started raining. The rain stopped. Blue sky appeared overhead. While I made my breakfast, the clouds rolled in again. While I was at the dentist’s, the sky out the window was idyllic blue with a few drifty white clouds.

This afternoon it clouded over again. As sundown approached, thunder rumbled in the distance then got louder. The rain started gentle, then came down torrential, then stopped.

Sandy seems to have moved on. Like Irene, s/he let us off easy. New York City and New Jersey weren’t so lucky.

It’s hard to take a picture of the wind.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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8 Responses to Sandy Passes On

  1. daveparent says:

    Great looking Pooch !


    • The pooch and I thank you! Travvy is Mr. January in the Vineyard Seadogs calendar. It’s impossible to take a bad picture of this guy.

      Thanks also for your food reviews. I don’t eat out much (no $$$) so when I do, I don’t want to be disappointed. Managed to hit Smoke N Bones before it closed for the season. That was very good.


  2. jo says:

    glad you got off so easy, and with homemade ice cream to boot! and, i have to mention that Travvy is probably the most photogenic dog i’ve ever seen. great picture of him on the downed tree.


  3. I saw you on Sunday as I rode by in my Yellow Velomobile. It is always good to see you and Travvy.


    • Aha, so that’s who (and what!) it was! I looked down the bike path and saw headlights in the little parking area: not unusual. Then the headlights started coming toward me: very unusual! That’s a very cool — what, conveyance? Bright yellow rolling through the storm . . .


      • Technically it’s a bicycle. Except for batteries for lights and on board electronics, it’s totally human powered. Pedals and gears. I gave up my car about a year and a half ago.


  4. Shirley W. Mayhew says:

    Your wind photo is lovely, Susannah – pretty patterns……


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