Is there any sound sadder and sweeter than the chorus of crickets in late summer? Yesterday, when my husband, Clif, came home from work, we had drinks on the patio and listened to the crickets sing. We know what their song means—summer is coming to an end and with it warm weather, barbecues, and drinks on the patio after work. Fall has its blaze of glory and winter its cozy consolations, but in northern New England, summer is short and therefore greatly cherished. Clif and I are always sorry to see it end.
Along with lamenting the end of summer, we naturally talked about Hurricane Irene and the horrible destruction in Vermont and New York. Roads, crops, and livelihoods have been flooded and smashed, and I expect recovery will not only be costly but also slow. Money is tight during this recession, I know, but I hope that farmers, towns, and states will get enough help from the government to rebuild and to regroup. I might be a naive idealist, but like Mark Bittman, I expect government to “work for the interests of the American people.” And this means pitching in, both collectively and individually. Why this is often a matter of contention is beyond my comprehension.
Let me be clear about personal responsibility—I believe that individuals should do everything they can to prepare for emergencies. (I wrote about this in yesterday’s post.) Every household—not just the ones with wells—should have an emergency supply of water ready and waiting. In addition, they should have extra batteries for lanterns and flashlights, oil for lamps, and even a little camp stove for cooking should the power go out for an extended period. Then, of course, there is food, and all households should maintain an “emergency pantry” of food that is easy to heat—soups, baked beans, spaghetti sauce, pasta. Peanut butter and crackers—things that keep—are also useful to have in good supply.
If individuals are thusly prepared, then they can still eat and drink when storms come and the power goes out.
However, there are certain things individuals cannot prepare for—washed out bridges and roads, destruction of crops, flooded houses. To recover from these things we need collective help, the help of the state and federal government. This has been my philosophy for all of my adult life, and Hurricane Irene just reinforces this belief.
Hurricane season is not over yet. Not by a long shot. Clif and I will continue to monitor our supplies so that we are well stocked and ready should another hurricane hit. That way, we can have our eggs, toast, and tea, real comforts when the power goes out, and we have no idea when it will come back.