Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Here we are on the night of the great trapped miner rescue of twenty-ten.

On Columbus Day we embarked on a series of rather mundane errands in the early evening. The frame shop, the Y to get a discount membership, the grocery store.

They're inserting the rocketlike rescue pod into a hole in the ground. Steam is rising out of somewhere. The terrain is bald, barren rock. O, cruel mother earth! It's like the set of some bad sci-fi movie.

Our kitchen timer rings.

When we left the house it was seventy-three degrees. The rain was pelting the street in fat drops by the time we left our second stop and it was falling steady by the time we reached our third. We parked up close to the automatic doors.

There were few people in the vast supermarket. A surly woman watching over the organic health and beauty department. A couple we kept bumping into. As we left, a stockboy smiled and expressed a cryptic warning about the world outside: "Exercise caution on account of extreme conditions."

It was raining hard, harder than before. We turned the corner out of the parking lot and found the intersection to be flooded who knows how deep, maybe a foot, or maybe fifty. We turned around and found another way.

The streets were matted with yellowed leaves. Weren't the trees still green? It poured in places, it was still and dry in others.

When we turned onto our block it seemed to have been inundated with foamy, toxic waste. It was ice, piling up, leaf-flecked and tire-tracked. It produces a strange effect, a familiar sight appearing incongruously early.

Upstairs, our home was intact but for one thing: one of our window screens was torn to ribbons.