We had good intentions of getting out of the house with our bikes early Sunday morning to ride the Farmington Canal from Avon but at 9:00 am we were just finishing our first coffee of the day. While Bill pulled eggs from the fridge for our breakfast, I stood barefoot on the deck scanning the backyard, hoping to catch sight of the turkeys and their chicks who’ve taken up residence in the woods beyond the yard.
In the still, windless morning I heard what sounded like a series of fire crackers: pop, pop, pop-pop. Looking toward the noise, which I assumed came from the house where the young guys live (who else would light fire crackers at 9:00 am on Sunday morning), I saw the power lines over the next door neighbors’ house vibrate, shake the tree leaves. Five seconds later the lights went out as a large limb broke free from a tree and landed in the street taking the power lines with it. Bill’s stove is electric; the water hadn’t yet boiled for our second French press, eggs were no longer a breakfast option.
Neighbors gathered in the road to peer at the damage the fallen tree limb had done. We weren’t completely blocked in, there was enough room for a car to get by. Bill and I needed to put our bikes on the rack that wasn’t affixed to the car yet. We needed to change our clothes, fill our water bottles. We knew our window of opportunity was narrow. While we discussed our options a police cruiser drove up with red and blue lights flashing. The officer, who lives on Bill’s street, jumped out of his car, told us to get back, away from the wires sprawled across the street. We looked at each other, knew our escape route was cut off.
“We could ride along the shore.”
“We still have to drive and they won’t let us through.”
Another cruiser pulled up, blocked the road on the other side of the limb. We wouldn’t be leaving the cul-de-sac anytime soon. There was nothing to do but go back in and wait. Bill called his dad, I read and dozed on the couch. Eventually, the power lines were repaired or replaced, power restored. The limb remained, unmoved, encircled with orange cones.
By the time we were able drive to Avon we didn’t feel like it. Instead, we parked downtown and walked our usual route to Walnut Beach and back. The beach was packed with people trying to stay cool. Umbrellas of every color of the rainbow dotted the landscape. Small children hopped from one foot to the other, trying to avoid burning their soles on the scorching sand. We followed the boardwalk out to the street, turning at our usual spot, planned a dinner of shrimp and pineapple skewers over rice and grilled corn on the cob. When Plan A is foiled, resort to Plan B.