The eeriest thing about the storm was the dark. Black as the King of Hell’s riding boots, the saying goes.
Everywhere, it was pitch black: down the roads where streetlights ordinarily guide travelers; on the shore where the moon or stars reflect some smidgen of light off the water; across the bay to a black mountain where no light could be seen from any direction.
Much of the town was dark, save for a few candles and lanterns flickering from inside the windows of houses stuck in a 48-hour power outage. A few generators hummed at other residences, churning enough electricity for well pumps and boilers.
It was black all right, but it wasn’t still. And, it wasn’t quiet.
Limbs whipped against the side of the mud room, the glass panels in the sunroom rattled, and wind whistled around all sides of the house as the fierce gale lashed Down East Maine.
By morning, light returned, only to show the fury of a roiling sea that sent breakers up the cliffs of the island; only to show battering winds that uprooted trees and snapped heavy branches onto power lines.
The darkness of the stormy night had been unnerving, but the dramatic scene the following day was frightening. Huge waves rolled over the bay, crashing into the rocky coast with plumes of white spray. Farther out, the water was slate gray and the swells continued to grow.
Mighty gusts of wind shredded the large flag at the entrance to town, heaved lawn furniture on its sides, tore off shingles and spread debris over roads and yards.
A tall spruce tree near the front of the house swayed back and forth, its limbs acting like a sail in the strong winds, the base of its trunk tugging on the roots and lifting the ground around it in undulating rhythm.
It blew and it blew and it blew so hard the popple trees bent over to touch their toes, and the bark was almost shaved off the birches. Blow-downs littered the park roads, and sea foam covered the rocks like snow.
Then, the wind calmed and with it, the bay. Stars shone. Lights returned. Lobster boats resumed their routes. Chain saws cleared the ways.
Mother Nature once again had shown her wild side, but she’s settled down for now.