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I didn't give the absence of trains much thought at the time, during the recent hurricane, which thanks to the meteorologists, was declared a storm once it hit landfall. Very good for people with homeowners insurance unless you were in a zone that flooded, and have no flood insurance. FEMA to the rescue! What I noticed was a rather large misconception among people who desperately needed help that FEMA would give them money to rebuild. Give, being the operative word. It took awhile, at least from my perspective, which admittedly was limited due to no electricity most of the time for two weeks, to actually hear it explained that FEMA gives loans. It is not a federal freebie machine. The timing of the hurricane/storm/weather event was ironically same time roughly as last year's Iron Noder.

Writing during this time period was under duress of a different nature than my usual interruptions. Using someone else's laptop, in the dark, and with numerous people of all ages (think: small town rinky dink circus), almost gave me a good excuse for quitting. But two of my grandsons, my daughter and my two sons encouraged me to soldier on. Not some of my better writing, though I'll admit it was a small degree of comfort or ritual among the chaos. I thank those of you who sent messages of concern, during the four hours of generator time I was fortunate to have. Use of electricity was limited to doing laundry and some computer time. Think of the weirdest vacation you've ever had, then add in lots of little kids and teenagers. To their credit, they ate whatever we made with no complaints, played endless games of cards, as well as an outdoor game that involved a ball and invisible rules. There were some fascinating stories shared amidst the constant chainsawing, the intermittent blare of fire and rescue sirens which my son-in-law said there was no need to worry unless there were nine in a row, which means nuclear disaster.

It wasn't really until we had power restored that I could see the devastation in other places. It wasn't really until we were at my mother's for Thanksgiving that I noticed the absence of the sound of trains, ordinarily rolling by both my house and hers with a reassuring regularity. As of today, there is still an absence of trains carrying people back and forth from work or wherever people go day and night by train. It's difficult to explain why the lack of that particular sound bothers me so much, like a weak pulse on a slim wrist, or the fleeting opinion of nameless strangers, or prayers without a home.

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