We’re in the middle of one. Locally the term is often pronounced “no’theastah,” but I’m one of those rhotic New Englanders (meaning I pronounce my r’s, most of them), so I’ll spell it the way I say it. They’re also called “three-day blows,” with good reason.

Thursday morning I went out without longjohns, with my fleece vest hanging open over a sweatshirt, thinking, Guess March isn’t coming in like a lion this year.

Turns out the lion was just sleeping late. By Thursday evening, the wind was coming up, and yesterday was wild. Pouring down rain all day and wild, wild wind. Trav and I cut our morning walk a little short. Walking into the wind was hard work. He was drenched when we got home and I was pretty damp. (My slicker and rain pants are near the end of their useful life, and one of my boots leaks.)

Before sunset (sun? what sun?) we set out again. Trav thought I was nuts. I thought he’d need to pee. Plus I just wanted to check out the neighborhood.

Especially the Dr. Fisher Road. No, this is not typical of the Vineyard’s many dirt roads, but this particular stretch of it takes a good photograph.

The bare trees were swaying back and forth, limbs cross-crossing in an intense danse macabre, but I didn’t feel threatened. “Awed” was more like it.

Most of the fallen branches I saw were modest in size, till we got to the trail that strikes off from the Dr. Fisher Road and leads behind the West Tisbury School to Halcyon Way, the road I live on. There it looked like a full-size tree had maybe fallen across the road and been cut up already. Vineyarders tend to be handy with things like chainsaws.

That particular trail goes underwater with less rain than this, but there was enough high ground on either side that my leaky boot could stay out of the worst of it. (Those boots really do need to be replaced.)

If you want to see what yesterday looked like along the north shore, including the harbor towns of Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, check out the Martha’s Vineyard Times website. At least a couple of moored sailboats blew onto the beach. Not good at all.

The M.V. Times office is a stone’s throw from Five Corners, which regularly goes underwater when heavy rain and high tide converge. I was the Times features editor when the paper moved from high ground (behind Woodland Market, in the old Spaghetti Pot building that no longer exists) to low. Scheduled moving day happened to coincide with the No-Name Nor’easter of October 1991. The floor had just been laid, the ground floor flooded, the floor had to be relaid, and moving day was postponed. Wisely, the electrical outlets were all positioned at least a foot above the floor.

After a few flickers and a less-than-five-minute interruption in phone and internet service, the power went out a little after 8. I lit a couple of candles and kept working on my laptop. Kore’s screen is bright enough, of course, but it doesn’t illuminate the keyboard, so I strapped on the battery-powered headlamp I use for walking at night. That helped, but without the stimulation of artificial light I was soon ready for bed. I have immense respect for anyone who in the pre-electric age managed to stay up studying or writing long after the sun went down.

The lights came back around 1:45 a.m. That’s a guess. I’d forgotten to flick the light switch off before climbing into bed, and I’m pretty sure the returning lights woke me up.

Things have settled down some. The wind’s still pretty strong, but the rain has stopped. Trav and I are going out to inspect the damage. The boats still aren’t running. We’re happy to be on the home side of Vineyard Sound.

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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3 Responses to Nor’easter

  1. Jennie says:

    Sounds like you survived pretty much unscathed. The local news makes the Cape and beyond sound like a battle ground with Mother Nature. Horrible flooding along the coast. Yes, a three day event.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. See…nor’easters versus New England folk are how I know we will survive this presidency!

    Liked by 1 person

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