The Crews that Pick up the Pieces

It was a wild night last night. Strong nor’westerlies rattled the windows and tossed things about in the yard for most of the night. Sometime around four in the morning the wind abruptly shifted to the south, bringing squally rain.

Around 5.30, I let the cat out. I had just laid down again, hoping for fifteen more minutes of rest before starting my day, when I heard a car approaching. I heard it skid, and then there was a loud crack.

It wasn’t the first time someone had failed to make the turn at our house. My husband and I grabbed headlamps and ventured out into the rainy darkness.

A white ute (pickup truck) nosed into our fence, a power pole lying across the bonnet (hood).

The driver, seemingly unhurt, was already out of the car, cursing the start of his work week.

A call to emergency services brought the local fire brigade—three trucks and a dozen volunteers, who stood in the rain, managing what little traffic our road gets, and checking the driver. They could do little with live wires sprawling across the road.

As the sky slowly lightened, the ambulance and police arrived. The lines company arrived to turn off the power.

I spoke to the policeman. He had not slept last night—this was his third auto accident since midnight. Likewise, the linesmen had been up all night fixing wind damage.

Eventually, a tow truck came. A larger crew from the power company arrived bearing a new pole and a digger. They worked through the morning’s squally rain—it’s not a small job to install a new pole in our rocky soil.

I’m thankful to all these people, many of whom were volunteers who went off to work after their early-morning foray in the rain. They are the crews who go out at any hour, in all weather, to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong.

As I write this, the power is still out. It is raining, but the linesmen are up the new pole, reconnecting the cables. I may be able to post this by early afternoon, if I’m lucky. I hope they all get to go home after this and have a nice long nap.

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