Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dancing in the moonlight

Had the opportunity to spend some time a couple of nights ago, out in the night, with brisk winds and a beautiful full moon.

I love being out in a storm. Always have.

Of course these days, "being out in a storm" isn't always just to enjoy the feel of the dropping air pressure, the wind in my face, the sense of anticipation in the air.

Our first call a couple of nights ago was for a tree on wires, causing sparks.
Never found it.
Apparently, whatever it was that whoever saw, had corrected itself somehow before we got there.
Those who responded to the call stood out in the night for a while, enjoying it, and then headed back home for bed. Not everyone is sociable at 2:00am.

About the time I fell asleep, the pager went off again. This time, for our "sister company," the other company in our district, to go mutual aid to a neighboring town for what turned out to be a large barn fire. Not for us. We listened in on the scanner for a while, and then, back to bed.

About the time I fell asleep, the pager went off again, and, for the third time, I rolled over on my poor dog on my way out of bed.

Off we go again, for a tree down across the road.

Which it was. Large tree, for once. Covered in wild grapevines. And all the way across the road. This is going to take some time and effort.

So we parked the truck, and set out to mitigate the hazard. Hazard Mitigators 'Я Us.

Gear on? Check.
Chocked the truck. Check.
Set up the scene lights. Check.
Started the generator for the lights. Check.

While my partner went to get the chainsaw, I started to evaluate the tree, to see where we should start.

I took about two steps from the truck.

Looked up.

And now that we had the scene lights on, saw what we could not see in the shadows.

Power lines.
Going from a pole... to the ground.

A few feet in front of the truck.

We rapidly formulated a different plan. An orderly retreat, of sorts.

At this point, all we could do was get out of range and wait for NYSEG. Which we did.
For four hours.

Watched the trees swaying in the wind- gusts of 40-50mph.
Communed with the deer and chipmunks.
Saw the sun rise. Stood through a couple of brief rain showers, as light and delicate as the morning air.

And we got a good reminder of a thing or two, which I would like to share.

All guns are loaded.
All swords are sharp.
All dogs bite.
And all downed trees are on power lines.
(Either that, or they have an ectopic pregnancy, until proven differently.)(A little EMT humor.)

Look into the shadows.
Look up.
Whatever you do...

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