Realities and Alternate Realities

Here in New York we’re still reeling from Hurricane Sandy and now (to add insult to injury), a nor’easter.

photo by scottnj from flickr

I spent the morning swatting snow off tree branches with my broom.  It was quite a sight.

Because of the weight, the incredible heaviness of wet snow, I made an attempt to save numerous branches from snapping.  This snow, this heavy snow, this abominable blanket of sludge is like salt on an open wound.  Even the trees are suffering here in the northeast.

It’s a wicked sight, looking up my block (and I’m in one of the more fortunate sections) at yellow “caution” tape decorating various homes.  And this morning, due to the nor’easter, broken limbs and branches litter the road.

Visually and audibly changed as we’ve become accustomed to the sound of sirens here in Long Island. I miss the sound of birds.  Give me birds.

Now and then, I’ll visit Facebook and am forced to enter into “normalcy” as I read posts by friends living outside of the area.   Posts of children in cow costumes from Halloween; posts about writing and music and politics (well, not so much politics after Tuesday….thank God).

Intertwined with posts such as:  “My friend needs a home” and “I’m delivering cleaning supplies to Island Park tomorrow, please donate.”

And lately the happiest post of all:  I HAVE POWER!

Facebook and twitter are like…alternate realities.

In the midst of it all, throughout the storm, I’ve been reading The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead (recommended by a friend) about alternate realities.  Isn’t it amazing when a friend gives you the right book at the right time?  Providence…that’s what I say.  Providence!

The Skin Map, in short, speaks of the “omniverse” opposed to the “universe.”  It presents intersecting realities that unravel the “future of the future” within the genres of ancient history, alternate realities, physics, and philosophy.

It’s amazing how the words of books speak volumes to you when going through similar situations.  Not that my alternate reality is taking place in London in 1606, but it’s an alternate reality all the same.  I’ve never lived through a quasi-Katrina-like existence.

My reality is a bit of The Skin Map and, say, Ethan Frome right now.

Okay?  Understand?

All I can say is prayer is in high-gear and thank you God for coffee.

I’m taking my first few sips right now and thinking of alternate realities…like the beach in summer.

*   *   *

…between hemlock boughs bent inward to their trunks by the weight of the snow.  I had often walked that way on Sundays, and knew that the solitary roof showing through bare branches near the bottom of the hill was that of Frome’s saw mill.  It looked exanimate enough, with its idle wheel looming above the black stream dashed with yellow-white spume, and its cluster of sheds sagging under their white load.    

From Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

photo by Jeanne Bifulco

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