It was an amazing experience, this first hurricane. Or tropical storm, actually, by the time it got up here to New England. But the winds were strong enough to knock out power to a third of the state of Maine and wash out roads and bridges, isolating the communities near Rangeley Lake - an area we'd visited just Wednesday. The winds turned the placid lake outside our front door into an angry, grey-green monster with whitecaps and actual waves. Tree branches are everywhere.
But there was something thrilling about walking around in that kind of wind! Of having rain fly at you sideways. Of playing Crazy Eights by lantern. It was like a magnitude 4 earthquake - strong enough to get your heart racing, but not enough to tear your house down. Yes, there's damage and destruction in several states and more than a dozen people have died - mostly from falling tree branches. But, as one wag put it, "Like many girls before her, Irene went to NYC, hoping to be as big as she was in Carolina, only to be mocked by the locals." Or as Mainers say, "I guess fall came early."