A meterological campaign observation.
Three days ago, anyone who walked or drove down any Middletown street could not escape the ubiquitous campaign sign, fluttering with every passing vehicle on flimsy legs and proclaiming a candidate's name in red, white, blue, (green?) or a combination thereof.
All it took was a thick, wet, sticky unexpected October snowfall to force those political blossoms to the ground, where they were quicky covered with a blanket of frozen precipitation as white and hard as dried plaster. Add the gentle nudge of a passing snowplow, and the signs were often rent from their legs, and shredded by the unsentimental blade of the municipal vehicle.
Campaign signs are as resilient as birches, often bent by the weather, and will soon stand straight again, but not without the efforts of diligent campaign workers willing to prospect like goldminers to locate the signs beneath snow piles and to extract them from the frozen grasp of greedy winter.
Campaigners walking door-to-door will be chagrined to find that powerless homes feature powerless doorbells and that stressed-out and hypothermic homeowners may be less-than-gracious when asked to engage in conversation with a candidate who has just pounded lustily on their door. Unless that candidate is seeking to distribute, and not gain power.
With cell signals displaying irregular performance due to overburdened networks and downed towers, campaign callers are sure to encounter busy signals, phonemail boxes filled to bursting and long conversations with lonely residents who are missing the regular company of Oprah.
Politically, the storm could only have arrived at only one worse time, election day itself.
The storm has given a new definition to the Fall season. The gentle cascade of crimson leaves has given way to the clumsy and destructive crash of entire tree limbs, still festooned with autumn glory. "Rake these," they seem to challenge, as they lie like wooden lightning bolts across the lawn.
And despite his helplessness in the face of an indifferent Mother Nature , the incumbent will be blamed for every fallen limb, every recumbent satellite dish, and only a quick (though unlikely) recovery can restore his portrayal as decisive achiever. And now, suggesting that Halloween itself be cancelled, he has, alas, lost the children's vote too.
How the challengers will descend on him like howling Halloween lycanthropes, "Where are the police directing traffic?" they'll shout, and "Why is the hot water so cold?" they'll ask, and "Shall the government now have the last word on Snickers and jack-o-lanterns?"
But the challengers too must explain why their own governor, who pronounced his readiness after the last, still-fresh-in-the-memory disaster, has not delivered a jolt of restorative power to Main Street, or at least a fleet of gleaming visiting utility vehicles from Illinois.
The election is a mere week away. The promise of electrical service recovery, is, coincidentally, the same.
Will voters arrive at the polls cold and cranky? Or will they arrive at all, without the promise of hot showers, hot cocoa and a hotwire to Facebook.
As a Board of Education candidate, I worry, if elected, that I will be asked why our children will be attending school until August.
My answer, if elected: because the weatherman was finally right.
And, miles to go before I sleep.