Sept. 5, 2011 -- Greetings from the (former?) Stony Brook Islands of Stockbridge, Vermont.
It's been a week since Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast of the United States and through Vermont, washing away hundreds of roads, bridges and houses, and leaving thousands of people stranded in "island communities," cut off from the rest of the world.
My wife, two girls, and I first heard about the flooding in Vermont last Sunday as we arrived at a Buffalo Hotel on our way home from Shelbyville, Ky., from a visit to my parents.
The news, by phone, email and Facebook, from our neighbors up Stony Brook Road in Stockbridge, Vt., was daunting: there was a flash flood on Stony Brook. Roads, bridges and houses were washing away. The news from elsewhere in Vermont was equally dire. We had a fitfull few hours of sleep and were up by 5 a.m., checking emails and Facebook for the latest developments.
According to our neighbors, all the bridges on Stony Brook Road, and Davis Hill Road and Fletcher Brook Road, which branch off from Stony Brook, were "gone," completely washed away, as were long stretches of the roads, and at least several "camps," or cabins. The bridge that crosses Stony Brook as part of the driveway to the house my wife and I share with our two daughters, two dogs, a cat, and the ocassional bat, a quarter mile up a wooded mountainside, was "gone" also, as was the stretch of Stony Brook Road that led to the bridge.
We learned from other sources that I-90, our planned route home, was closed between Syracuse and Albany, due to storm-related damage. But that paled in comparison to what we were hearing about Stockbridge and elsewhere in Vermont, especially the southern and central parts of the Green Mountain State.
Rochester, Killington, Woodstock, Barnard, Stockbridge, Pittsfield, and other communities were completely cut off from the outside world. No power or land-line phones. Roads, bridges, houses and vehicles washed away. And everyone up Stony Brook Road, including our cat, was stranded.