We drove home from West Virginia Sunday right behind the storm, careful to not catch up with it. To the west, the sky was clear and blue. To the east, it was churning with energy. Because of road closures, it took us two days to make the trip
Over the past two years, I’ve posted many flower photos taken at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, a beloved local attraction where at least one Birds reader puts in many hours as a volunteer. The town's garden club had the brilliant idea to recycle an old trolley bridge into a public garden. Its a perfect place to clear your head and find something to sing about, in spring, summer and fall. 
We almost lost it over the weekend. 
Then, there’s Wilmington, Vermont, where we spend as much time as we can in a cabin in the woods, a little west of town. We lived there full time most of last year, but now that we’re back in our home in Massachusetts, we go up on weekends. It’s only 40 scenic minutes away, on slow roads. You would never know the Deerfield River, seen below, could turn into a ferocious dragon in a few short hours, with a little coaxing from Irene. 

We almost lost it over the weekend. 

The last video was taken from the west side of the landmark eatery Dot's Diner, the little white building on the right and next to the bridge, in the previous videos. You'll notice the water completely covers the bridge on its east side, at this point. To see the river's normal size, look at that little trickle going alongside Dot's in the winter shot, above. 
Our cabin is standing and we think it’s fine, but the town it’s part of was all but destroyed. You may have seen the video on CNN. A young woman was washed away by roaring flood waters.

At this point, the state and federal emergency management people have mobilized to bring in water, food and medicine, while the locals have set up the high school as a shelter for those who lost their homes or don’t want to live without utilities. Our road was completely washed out, but a temporary path was quickly plowed out by the town because some important people live on it (not us).

But, the US highway on either side to town is closed, indefinitely. To get to the next town, some people will have to drive south to Massachusetts, then take another road north, hoping they don’t run into a roadblock or a hole big enough to swallow a semi. There are so many bridges out around here, engineers could work on them for a lifetime.

How many bridges? Here's a map showing many roads and 36 bridges out in just ONE county: http://www.windhamregional.org/roadstatus



09/01/2011 05:50

Paula - I forgot that your cabin was in Wilmington. Neighbors told me about all the damage there. I am glad your cabin is safe. It has been a refuge. Thanks for adding all the video. I finally got to SF yesterday and while no one can walk on the Bridge of Flowers it is heartening see see (from the Buckland side) that it is still in full bloom. The flowers don't seem to have minded the uproar too much.

09/01/2011 11:44

Maybe the flowers have held up well because their 'parents' did a good job raising them.

09/02/2011 07:47

Flooding just leaves people so helpless! I hope your cabin is spared and that Vermonters can soon put this sad, hard day behind them.

09/03/2011 20:41

Nance--It's amazing what 2,000 people, the National Guard and a couple of earth movers can do in a week, when they put their minds to it. Recovery is moving along nicely in both Wilmington and Franklin County, Mass, but it will be years before we can recover from the loss of so many bridges.


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