Goodnight, Irene!

Dear Friends and Cooking Comrades,

Welcome back home!

Hurricane Irene visited – well, I guess you’d have to say she’s was a tropical storm by the time she reached upstate New York.

It rained.  It really rained.  For hours.  I felt like Noah.  I was ready to build an ark and collect two of every kind.  The creek ran like a river; we saw bales of hay from the farm next door being swept away by the creek that roared.

During the storm, I went out and checked the basil in the garden – it was getting battered, so I decided pesto was in my plans.  I also picked all the apples I could get to before they went to mush.  Applesauce is also in my plans.

Irene was even a meaner gal to other parts of the eastern seaboard.

Isn’t it funny how a storm stops your busyness, cancels your immediate plans, makes you focus on things that are most important:  Food, water, shelter, your kids, your pets, your family – and hoping the well pump doesn’t go out so you can wash the stink off of you, and perhaps flush your toilets.  Normally, I forget the true grace in a hot shower or flushing the john.  You know, real jet-set glamour stuff!

A good storm reminds us that there’s something bigger than celebrity weddings, political feuds, or reality TV with folks behaving badly; there’s something bigger than ourselves.

All of you that planned ahead, heeded warnings, were smart and resourceful and weathered the storm, I’m so proud of you.  And thanks to all the folks that helped someone out during the storm.  People helping each other – it’s built into most of us.  In a storm, no one cares how much money you have in the bank, where you go to church (or if you don’t), who you voted for, what your clothes look like, or what school your kids attend – it’s just about getting a fallen branch off the road, a car out of the ditch, a scared and wet dog back home, or sharing your jug of water with a neighbor.  A storm gives us examples of the best that people have to offer each other.  And when I was mopping up the water in the basement, a sense of humor helped, too!

The next day after the storm passed, I went out to photograph the creek and some of the destruction.  Trees were uprooted, big swathes of land cut out and missing because of all the water – I’ve heard folks call it “the water taking the land back.”  Other than some damage, the creek was beautiful again – not nearly as angry as it was.  As I got out the wheelbarrow to start cleaning up, it was so green and gorgeous and the perfect temperature.  One of those days that you say, “I wish the weather was always like this day.”  Irene was gone, but we were here.  Goodnight, Irene!


Chef  David


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