Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

The Morning After

While I still admire sunrises as much as ever (when I’m awake early enough to see them), I rarely photograph them anymore.  How many, after all, do you need to capture before saying “Enough”?  I’ll stand and watch for as long as they’re there, but I don’t run for the camera.  It’s more enjoyable to just watch.  Why worry about framing the darn thing……..

The other morning, however, turned out to be an exception.  It was the morning after this area received a glancing blow from Sandy.  All in all, we had clearly dodged a bullet.  Unlike the coastal areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  They’ll be dealing with serious problems for quite a long time, I think.  For us, it was just a matter of some downed trees and power outages.  Most people in western NY – including me – had no real problems at all.  Life would quickly return to “normal”.

And all of that was clear when the sun popped through for a few minutes on Tuesday morning.  The irony, I thought, was a bit much.  Here, in plain view, was this glorious sunrise, even as Sandy still swirled across 10 states.  It seemed to me that Mother Nature was poking fun at humanity.  I mean, what is more soothing to the soul (normally) than a colorful sunrise?  You watch sunrises to absorb the peace and tranquility that radiates – literally – from them.  A “good” sunrise usually means a good day.  It’s hard to screw things up when you’ve seen a sunrise like this one.

This one, though, just wasn’t in that category.  The “pretty” sunrise was a lie.  Sandy has redefined a good chunk of the northeastern coastline.  Coastal tide tables will have to be rewritten.  Maps will have to be redrawn.  New York City – which simply wasn’t built for this kind of disaster – will have to decide what to do with its subways and tunnels.  Filling them with sea water every so often simply will not work.

And therein lies the problem.  Call Sandy the “storm of the century” if you like.  But I’m thinking that we won’t have to wait another 100 years for the next one.  It’s a good bet that the next hurricane with NYC in its crosshairs will happen a lot sooner than that.

And so I grabbed the camera and took the picture.  It will serve as a reminder, a reminder that there will very likely be more of these “mornings after” in places that aren’t used to having them.  Let the weirdness begin.

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2 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Earl

    I never say never when it comes to photographing sunsets or sunrises because just when I think I’ve seen the most beautiful one I find I was mistaken. Paul, I like the roof lines in this image…it lends some presence.

    Glad to hear only minor impact from Sandy in your area. This storm has permanently marked the northeastern coastline. They can rebuild but it will never be like it was. Sandy perhaps also put a stake in the ground as far as climate change and future weather expectations…although I’m not optimistic we’ll really learn and change much from this. That would be too much to expect. I’m sure many will simple see this as an act of God, for whatever reason, and continue blindly on. Yes, “Storm of the Century”…every two years.

    Reply
    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Earl. I have to admit that the urge to grab a camera when I see something like this is still very strong. As you imply, they’re always different.

      The trouble with Sandy is she just won’t leave. She’s still sitting there – just above Lake Ontario – spinning around and around. Weather-wise, she’s no more than a nuisance, but the clouds and rain (and some wind) are getting old real quick. And no, we’re not likely to learn much. You’re certainly right about that. We’ll just rebuild along the coast and hope that another “Sandy” doesn’t come along too soon.

      Reply

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