Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Ever Changing Wind

The last two days have bought us storms of unusual intensity and amazing duration. The winds have been the worst part by far, so powerful that the zombies outside the walls have been knocked over. More and more of them have started acting strangely when the wind comes up, tucking their heads and stopping in place. It'd be an excellent chance to put some arrow in them if the damn wind weren't so strong that it throws off the aim of the archers on duty.

Our reservoirs of water here in the compound, as well as the big one up the road that feeds this side of town, are full. That's good, since spring in Kentucky tends to be very wet and then very, very dry. We're hoping to build a few more cisterns and get some new water barrels in place by the time the next rains come. Jess actually came up with a good idea for easy water storage: garbage cans. There are plenty of unused ones around, from the big stores around here, and we can clean out others that we bring in from neighborhoods. I'm hoping we can just use those for holding irrigation water. I don't fancy drinking out of a container that might have once held dirty diapers, no matter how much it's been cleaned.

The worst part of the storm is that the bridge on the west side of the compound, the little one over the creek that we blocked up to create a reservoir behind it, has finally given way. It was severely damaged before, but we managed to fix it and make it usable for travel. Not so much anymore. The dam we built against it to hold that part of our water reserves is mostly intact, but the bridge itself is done for. The winds knocked over a huge tree onto it, and the weakened supports just couldn't hold out. more than half of it has caved in under the weight, and it doesn't look like we'll be able to repair it any time soon.

Before The Fall, that damn bridge caused all kinds of trouble in this neighborhood. It was damaged often and had to be repaired by the county, sometimes twice a year. Big chunks of asphalt would break off, exposing the steel beneath. Years and years of that all lead up to this, which is a total failure.

It sort of underscores the fact that while we've been extremely lucky in some ways, there are still things that are going to be beyond our means to fix for a long time yet. The bridge is an obvious and recent problem, but remember that most of the dwellings in the compound are houses. Old houses at that, which means that there are constantly things going wrong with them. Shingles coming off here, a door off its hinges there. My brother has taught a lot of basic carpentry and repair to the people here, and we've looted supplies and materials for most of the last year.

But none of it will last.

Nature beats its fists on us, hammering us with gusts of air that can topple men alive and dead. Ceaseless water invades the cracks and crevices, wearing away seals and rotting wood. It's as if the world is trying its damnedest to destroy what was, to make us build something new. Maybe something better.

In practical terms, it means that what would have been easy repairs before The Fall have become major annoyances. In time, I can see us razing the homes here and building structures more adapted to a world without the economy, production capacity, and infrastructure to make the traditional frame home really work. Lacking power enough to heat or cool our houses is frustrating, and we'd love to build in a way that is more efficient and that doesn't need electricity to accomplish it.

If we manage to survive that long, we'll eventually have to do it. The homes we have will crumble around us or be heavily damaged, and we will run out of the things we need to fix them at some point.

You know, the tree that hit the bridge was one of the last inside the compound. We cut down most of them over the last year to make sections of the wall and to use for firewood now and then. The copse of trees right next to the bridge was hit hard, but a few older ones were left.

Today, that patch is bare. Now it matches the rest of the place. I wouldn't say we took our vengeance on the trees or anything, but then I wouldn't not say it either.

Well, I'm off to the farms with a lot of others who are going to put in extra shifts. Time to make up for the planting we missed because of the weather. Eight hours of labor on top of my already full day of work here. Pinch me, I must be in heaven.

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