Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Last Gasp of Summer

That's always how the long weekend feels. 

Jethro and I took the kids and the dog up to Lake Huron.  

Everything cooled suddenly the last couple days, which was a bit of an adjustment after a pretty darn hot summer.  On our way up Highway 8, just as we went through Seaforth, we got pelted with rain.  I mean, raindrops this big (hold your thumb and forefinger together), and with great force. It turned into an epic experience... we were listening to Apocalyptica, and it was during "Helden" which is actually a cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" but trust me, waaaay heavier (seriously?  The frontman from Rammstein singing in German over cello metal?  YES)  when the torrential downpour happened. The storm was about as long as the song, and peaked when the song was ripping through a climactic thunder clap of shrieking distorted strings.  You know what it was?  It was awesome.  Truly.  Then on our way out of town, the clouds sort of gave up and the sun came out - just as the song was ending!  I know- TIMING.  It was incredible.  

Annyong declared that she would totally remember that for the rest of her life.  

We went to Goderich.

A couple weeks ago, a tornado took out the town square.  

I didn't want to be a gawker.  But Jethro insisted on putting some money into the local economy... tourism will be taking a beating these days.  He just wanted to show Goderich a little love. 

It's so easy to love.  

 In the background, you can see the part of the salt mine that didn't get hit by the twister.

Geez, Bucky is getting shoulders on him like his father.  

Annyong and Bucky both had to check out the playground.  Why not, nobody else was.  

And here in the background you can see where the twister did hit the salt mine.  Looks like it's been crumbling for 30 years.  Nope.  Less than ten minutes.  Less than five, probably.

We never know when Nature is gonna come along and kick us in the teeth.  

Count your blessings every time you're spared the wrath.  

She even takes arty pictures with an iPhone.  

Eventually we stopped by for a nice meal at a place with an outdoor patio, where The Pug was sort of allowed but not really.  He had to stay outside the fence, where he alternated between crying for Mommy (that'd be me) and greeting restaurant patrons as they came by the front entrance. 

I leaned over and stuffed fries into his mouth.  Look, I never do that, okay?  But they were really tasty, and he'd been quiet for a few minutes, so I figured, aw heck.  Last weekend of summer.  Have a fry.  

Seeing the damage in the town was...heartbreaking... yet hopeful.  There are so many trees lying on their sides, with their roots gone vertical because of the way they were lifted out of the earth.  Trees with nothing left but spikes of thick branches because the funnel cloud stripped everything else away. Piles of rubble stacked neatly at the curb.  

Windows boarded over with plywood, spray painted with messages:

Thank you volunteers
We will rebuild
We'll be "The Prettiest Town in Canada" again!

All choked up.

I wouldn't have recognized the town square, which was all fenced off.  It didn't look right.  Totally unfamiliar.  It wasn't just the boarded up windows and missing walls.  I couldn't quite place the wrongness... it was the trees.  They're gone.  The inner square was like a park, and all of those trees are gone.  What's left of them has been cut up and taken away already, probably done while the hydro crews worked.  It was eery.  

Tornadoes are so unfair.  

But it's amazing how people can band together, help each other, and overcome.  Do some grieving, and get to work.  Move on.

Summer's gone.

This morning, I sent my younguns off to school.  

Every year I take a picture on the first day of school.  This is her last year.  Oh my gosh.  

I think next weekend we'll take the pool down...


Heidi Willis said...

What great photos! I can't believe how cool it looks though!

We had friends who vacationed in New Orleans a few years back to help pump money into the post-Katrina economy. It's a great way to both see what devastation there is out there, count your own blessings, and help others.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Heidi W. I'm glad you went to Goderich, might have to take my kiddos there something soon too. What beautiful pictures.

Paul Tee said...

While at U of W my wife and I often went to Goderich just to get away from books and studying. Few miles out of town was a dairy bar that served the best frozen custard in Ontario. It alone was worth the trip.

I remember the beach. Miles and miles of rock strewn shores, the water cool and the bottom dropping swiftly off. I collected pebbles smoothed though eons of waves, looking very pretty, but by the time we got home they dried and lost their color sheen. I put them in a tumbler with abrasive powder but could not get to shinny them up.

Goodrich was a nice place, I'm deeply sorry that it got hit.

I'm happy thought that you had a good time. Those family outing are priceless, make up never forgotten moments.

Hey the kids look great, not a hint that school was just around the corner. Denial is such a useful thing...