Last weekend I made my third and fourth drives through the village since it drowned. The pizzeria's neon OPEN sign is lit, the drugstore has a brave white paper with a handwritten "OPEN" on it in the window, but neither had any noticeable traffic; almost nobody lives in the village anymore. The parking spaces on Main Street were empty except for torn-out sheetrock and fiberglass. People wearing gloves and masks over their noses and mouths carried debris out of wide-open buildings. An old blue barn that had floated off its foundation and nearly into the road had one of its walls removed on my morning trip by, two by the time I went by in the afternoon. The building that housed my hairdresser's shop has its walls half-removed to take advantage of whatever drying the sun and air could accomplish.
The first time I went through the village, when it still looked like a war zone, it smelled like Death. The second time it smelled like heating oil from the storage tanks that had been knocked loose and had leaked their contents. The stench has dissipated. Now it smells less like Death and more like the old mildewy dust of country cellars.
Along the road between village and home, and between the other side of village and dog groomer's shop, the cornstalks that still stand rise from a foot of standing water; elsewhere in the same fields they are wind-flattened. All of it is useless.
There are houses with "For Sale By Owner" and Realtor signs in the front lawns. The mortgages on the ruined structures and the cost of rebuilding . . . some people are simply walking away, to live in apartments with newly-bought or donated furniture. Those who are brave and strong enough to hire contractors to tear down and start over run the risk of some mean SOB reporting them to the state Department of Labor for not having an asbestos survey done before they demolish . . . as if any asbestos that might have been attached to those structures wouldn't have been miles downstream by now.
A couple of weeks after the floods I had heard rumors of forgetting about maintaining the dam, allowing the valley to flood, some level of government taking the land by eminent domain. I haven't heard any of that recently, and I am relieved. I prefer that my house be "hilltop" rather than "waterfront."
Gon Out. . . Bisy . . .Backson . . .
13 hours ago