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Friday, January 22, 2010

THAW

iced trees



Woke this morning to ice all over everything. It was quite beautiful everywhere. Not a good day for driving evidently. The mail didn't get this far today. Wind, rain, sleet and snow now tells days we don't get mail. Back when that had meaning in the post office, the mailman rode a horse. It was Thomas Kincaid world this morning. Except in the night I heard a big thump, expected power out, but it didn't happen. This morning I found a big limb from a white pine broke and took down the power line that runs from the pole to the house. Ripped a connector off the outside wall of the house, but didn't break the wire by pulling it loose from the house.
I called Blue Ridge Electric, reported it, adding there's no urgency about it. I have power. I can go on the bottom of the list after all the people without power. Mine is just something I don't dare try to fix myself. It could be the last one fixed and still be all right. The ice fell off everything between 2 and 3 this afternoon, a rain of ice under the trees. Made me want to go out with a cooler and snow shovel and fill it up. Why? I didn't do it. Around 4, a couple of white trucks from Blue Ridge Electric drove up, 3 workers, guys who looked like they're in volunteer fire department and rescue squad. When they came to see what needed fixing I felt safe. Intelligent guys who have learned very well something I don't care to know anything about, dealing with lots of electricity, the kind that can fry you like a dorito and knock you out of a cherry picker at once.
These are people I can't help but admire. They're the ones out all night doing what it takes to restore power to every house with a problem, something different in every case. These are today's wind-rain-sleet-and-snow people. Those are the conditions where they work all night. They're well schooled and well trained in their knowledge of what they're doing. They have to be. It's a know what you're doing or die kind of job.
They worked together as a good team. They were outside connecting the wire back to the house and I was inside reading Ralph Stanley tell about his fiddler Curly Ray Cline. I was reading about people I admire as true human beings, while outside 3 men I felt were true human beings put the broken parts back together. These 3 and the others that do this sort of work are actively serving the people of their county. They do it in such a way nobody notices that's what it is, but it is. They do work that is highly specialized. They know how to deal with electrical energy that would get me knocked to the moon. And they do it because I can't. They're fairly well paid and deserve to be. Like other working man jobs, it doesn't pay what it's worth.
By the end of the day everything is melted. The temperature is 36 and looking like it might not be too cold tonight. Maybe. I feel more and more like one of the old people living alone on a fixed income in an old house they can't afford to fix up, needing fuel assistance and this assistance and that. I've become an eccentric old turd. I've followed my own light and that keeps me on a solitary path. That's why I'm here, the solitary path. After the thaw, a fog drifted in, thin at first, that thickened as sky darkened. A good day to stay at home and talk with friends on the telephone.

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