Monday, October 16, 2006
Coffee, A Flood, and New England Weather
What a mixture of interactions, sensations, and moods today!! I grabbed a cup of Estima - or whatever the house was serving for coffee at Starbucks - and spent the first quarter mile just floating. With each sip I enjoyed the leisure of the current, the sharpness of the bright afternoon light and air, and the sound of the kids learning to row crew at the boat dock slowly fading in the distance behind me. When I finally finished my refreshment and stowed the cup under my neoprene cockpit skirt, I was around the first bend and heading toward a bright blue sky with near perfect cumulus clouds. The water level is so much higher than it has been for the past few weeks that I am seeing things along the shore which previously went unnoticed.
One such sight, that I have been aware of for years, is the old automobile that rests where it settled with the receding flood waters back in 1955 - the year of the great flood in this area. In mid-August of that year two large tropical storms - hurricanes Connie and Diane - hit the area with a one-two punch that devastated many communities. With soil saturated by the first series of rains swept northward, the fourteen inches of additional rainfall that followed within a week had nowhere to go but along the ground, into rivulets, turning streams into raging rivers and rivers like the Mad in Winsted and the Farmington here in tobacco valley into torrents that could hardly be characterized as anything but flood upon flood. I have heard stories and seen photos and can only imagine what the morning of August 19th, 1955 might have been like for the people who woke to the devastation.
Today the level is near normal for this time of year. Its push kept me moving along at a pace that helped me to enjoy the foliage and still get a good workout. Without an awareness of the change overhead, I rounded one meander and was struck by how quickly the sky had darkened and how completely different the day had become. So too, were my thoughts and feelings quickly shifting from the wonderment of history to the chameleon nature of New England weather. Harbinger of winter's challenges, the leaden sky settled lower and I quickly finished my paddle for the day with an uneasy feeling to carry along, with the kayak, back home.