Monday, September 5, 2011


By the time we reached Hawley, much repair work had already begun, and much had been completed. Completed for the short term; there remains a tremendous amount of work that will take months and millions. But everywhere one saw National Guard personnel working hard to get roads and bridges cleared or replaced for the coming weeks. We drove with convoys of enormous trucks carrying dirt and rocks, rubble and debris. Unlike planned construction projects there was an efficient ad hoc air about the work - and we could actually see tremendous progress in just the few hours we were there. Somehow these emergency workers, when charged with a task, and without bureaucratic red tape and regulatory oversight,  simply plow ahead and get the job done. I'm not taking the Tea Party approach here, but simply observing that left to their own devices these teams of emergency workers can accomplish an astonishing amount of work. And I suspect that the failure of some of the bridges and roads was due, in part, to the lack of sufficient oversight, standards, and above all else, public funding. This was roll-up-your-sleeves, get-the-job-done activism at its best. As one Vermont woman observed when asked about the ordeal her town had gone through, "Who knew we had so many heroes?"

We saw a great deal of damage, and I don't think it is particularly useful to show scenes of destruction. My own photographs document roads washed away and such, and yet in the picture there are also the woodlands, hillsides of trees, and verdant fields looking as glorious as ever. But the riverbeds are raw open wounds still.

Work on the house continues, mainly on the interior. The plastering is done, and the painter is beginning his work. Meanwhile the tile artisan (Justin is a master craftsman) is laying the marble in the bathroom, on the walls and floor. The maple flooring is to be delivered this week and will be installed in conjunction with the interior doors. The dumpster has been taken away. The cabinetry delivery needs to be scheduled and the appliances are ordered and awaiting our call to have them delivered. Even the house number, "6" has arrived. Things are coming together.

Living room, toward the study

Southeast facade sans dumpster

Washout on Middle Road

Toward the bedroom, from the kitchen

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