Neither words nor photos can capture the scope of Thursday night's ice storm. The picture to the left was taken AFTER my husband and I had cleaned up several of the full-sized trees that crashed in our yard. (I'd just returned from a long vacation and hadn't yet had a chance to recharge my cameras' batteries, so I had to wait until I tracked down access to electricity before I could take any photos.) As is the case for so many people in Fitchburg and surrounding towns, we lost dozens of trees, and those trees that semi-survived lost massive branches and often their entire top halves, so it's not clear they'll pull through. Notice the white house on the right side of the photo? That's one of my neighbors' homes, one that never used to be visible from our backyard.
That also happens to be the home of the neighbor who shoveled my lengthy sidewalk and even cleared off my front stairs when it snowed yesterday while I was at work. I've written previously about the wonderful neighbors I've encountered since moving to Fitchburg, but the ice storm has really emphasized how lucky I am to live in such a caring community. Everyone truly came together to help each other in recent days. People offered to share generators, chainsaws, wood chippers, food, and even warm spots in front of fireplaces. When power returned to the lower half of our street more than two days before the upper half, those of us who remained without electricity suddenly found ourselves inundated with earnest offers to partake of warm meals, heated guest rooms, showers, and washing machines. City councilors traveled around checking on each and every house - at the time when my ward councilor, Dave Clark, stopped by, his own house was down to 34 degrees, but he was nonetheless putting the needs of his constituents above his own.
It's going to be some time before I can look out into my backyard without getting a little teary-eyed at the devastation. The number one reason I bought the house I did was because of the surrounding trees and the privacy they afforded our back yard. But it's comforting to know that the houses that I can suddenly now see out the windows are the homes of such supportive people who have demonstrated an amazing ability to pull together and make the most of a bad situation.
I'm hearing similarly positive stories from so many people in the area and would love to hear more about the experiences you had with your own neighbors in your community. Good luck to everyone as you move forward with clean-up, and my particular condolences to those who are still without power.