Back on dry land, I came upon a house where a large tree crashed onto a roof. “The wind was blowing heavy and all of sudden I heard a crashing sound,” Glover Preble explained, looking up at his roof. Preble is named after two famous relatives: Revolutionary War General John Glover was his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, and Edward Preble was once the commodore of the USS Constitution.
“We just count our blessings that we didn’t get hit any harder,” said the retired Marblehead police sergeant.
Back in Swampscott, Vinnin Square was dark even before sundown. Parts of the shopping center were under water last October, when a storm dumped 6 inches of rain on the town during high tide. During Sandy, it was mostly dry but silent.
On a nearby street, Gregg Hamel, a Swampscott native who still lives in town, was wondering when his power would come back on. He had gone to the beaches and seen the waves, played guitar at a friend’s house, and was ready to eat dinner. “When you lose all your electrical power and Internet connectivity to the world, you feel isolated,” he told me.
I headed home, turned on the computer, and looked for lost clues of the day in my photos. I have lived next to the ocean nearly all of my life, and on different days the waves have seemed mostly green, blue, aqua, and white. On this day the waves just seemed to be gasping for something we could never understand. They appeared to be drowning in their own fury, while begging to be released from an ocean that edged closer and closer to us.