March 4, 2016: The Ice Storm 25 Years Later

Friday.  Today we decided to make a “stay in all day” day.  We had planned to do a grocery trip today but no one, except for Luciana, felt like going out.  (This ended up turning into an experiment in “how long can we go without a real trip to the big grocery store.”)

Today is exactly one quarter of a century after the great ice storm that devastated western New York when I was in high school.  It was my sophomore year at York Central School and we ended up having two weeks off from school due to the incredible amount of ice causing the power to be out at the school for that whole time.  We lost one third of all of the trees around the area.  That was the storm that would instantly change the woods of my childhood.

At the time, in 1991, the storm’s impact was one of fallen trees, dangerous roads and no school.  But now, as an adult looking back on it, it was the moment that the woods that I had grown up knowing “disappeared” to me.  Ever since I was really little, going into our woods was a normal thing.  I can remember the paths, the meadows, the ponds and more so well, even today.  There was a whole field of black eyed susans hidden back there and I knew exactly how to get there.  I knew every path, including deer paths that led through the northern fringe of the wood and had wide open areas that went along a field and would sneak you into different points along the big pond that was hidden deep in the woods.  I had camp outs, picnics, parties, horse rides, wagon rides and more back in those woods.  They were a huge part of my childhood.  When I think of myself being young, those woods feature prominently in my memory.

After this storm, the woods were gone.  Not that they did not exist, but they were changed.  The trees came down and the paths were blocked.  Nothing looked the same and everything changed.  Because the ice storm was in March it would be a long time before the woods would have been entered again and by the time that it was, nothing was similar.  It never recovered.  We never really got it back to the way that it was. And nature takes over so quickly.  In no time the paths, meadows and copses were dramatically changed.  It seemed minor then, so we didn’t go into the woods like we used to.  But over time the behaviour changed.  What used to be the place for afternoon walks was sort of gone.  Not gone in a dramatic “you can never go in there again” sort of way, but just enough that you never did.  And as we stopped using it, nature took over more and more.  The paths that we used to mow grew over, first with weeds them with trees and eventually disappeared.

I got up and started writing but Luciana was up soon and asked if I would play some games with her. So we started the day with Goat Simulator and Sega All Stars Racing.  At this point we have managed to earn all but the final course in the game.

Most of the day was spent writing, but I did knock off on the early side to get more time with the kids.

The weekend sale on Steam is from Square Enix with all of the Final Fantasy games on sale.  We already have nearly all of them, but the exciting news is that the classic Final Fantasy IX has been announced for the PC and will be available in the next three months.  They are slowly getting all of the titles re-released, which is pretty awesome.  Next year is the thirtieth anniversary of the series.

I played some Final Fantasy III with the girls tonight.  They wanted to do something together so we climbed into the game room as it is Friday night and Dominica did not feel like playing a game with us but wanted to just read in the living room.  Luciana had seen Final Fantasy V‘s icon on Steam that has chocobo racing on it and said that she wanted to play that.  I talked them into trying FF3, which is the oldest of the FF titles that is currently available on Steam, so that we could “start from the beginning” instead.  It took a bit but once I fired it up and they watched the intro they were hooked.  Like really, seriously into the game.  They were so excited and had a great time playing it for more than an hour.  This is their first time really playing a JRPG of any sort.

It’s been most of a decade since I last played FF3, I had played the remake (on which this version is based) on the Nintendo DS handheld system.  This is way better.  The graphics have been updated and playing on the big screen is so much more comfortable.  And some stuff has been added, like the intro that looks like a full budget movie.  FF3 was originally from the old 8bit Nintendo NES circa 1990 and was not released in the US for a very long time, it was one of the FF titles that was held back for non-US customers only for a very long time.  So my play through on the Nintendo DS was my first time ever.

We had a great time playing together, the girls made me promise that we would get up and continue playing this one tomorrow.