Fire, as seen by an Islander

Hi Peter,

General consensus in the light of day is that we were beyond lucky on Sunday night.  It wasn’t very windy, it was REALLY warm for February and Sue Bolman’s well was full.  The pumps didn’t freeze, the wind didn’t take the fire to surrounding houses or the backside and we were able to keep water on the walls until Bristol fire arrived.  They were impressed by our ability to stop the fire before they got here, especially in light of the condition and age of our equipment.

I don’t want people to get the impression that we have a crack team of “hardy souls” who are more self-sufficient and capable than the average Joe.  We were very lucky.  Having said that, those I mentioned before did an incredible job of being careful and focused and persistent.  I was there as back-up… I held flashlights and pulled kinks out of hoses and drove a truck to the wharf to help Bristol fire get to the scene.  So I had time to watch the others and they were amazing.  I left the scene at 5 a.m. but Jess, Matt, Dori, Stew and Marjorie stayed and readied the fire truck and equipment so that if we had another fire it would have been ready.  We got lucky!

On a personal note… I do an unofficial people count every few days and it’s been around 27-30 for the majority of January and February.  The actual resident count is barely 50 and at any given time there are 15-20 people off island, some in between boats, some for 4-6 week vacations.  It’s very quiet here and I worry very much about who is coming along to be Assessors, or Fire Chief or Town Treasurer or Road Commissioner.  We are an older population and a lot of people have more than done their time at those jobs.  I think all the time about moving inshore.  Because I’m in a MISCA house I don’t have the luxury of being able to be a seasonal summer resident so when I go it’s for good.  It’s sad to think about, even though on a daily basis I’m not sad being here.  I love the island.. the physicality and the elemental beauty of daily life.  It feels like I’m in a hospice ward.  We’re still technically alive but we all know the end is near.  On that happy note… how’s the sunny south?  If I ever have enough money to buy a ticket down you might find me parked on your sofa for a week or two.  Don’t worry… it won’t happen this year but I would love to come for a visit.

I hope you are all well and using your sun screen.  I hope you get to drink lots of fruity drinks with little paper umbrellas and eat really hot spicy food.  Think of me feeding the woodstove, sliding along the ice with my ice grippers and trying to get up the hill to the museum with the wind blowing 40 m.p.h.!



P.S.  The Lincoln County News has an article out today.