In aquarium keeping, there’s a term for what happened to my fish during the power outage after Hurricane Sandy. They call it fish loss, which is a very technical term for the sad event. My fish have survived previous power outages, but we were out for twelve days through some freezing temperatures, so the temperature of the water in the aquarium fell below where the aquarium temperature meter begins to measure. I had four fish two weeks ago and now I have one. Last night I came home to the return of power and the bodies of my two gouramis, large, bloated, bleached of their beautiful blue pigment.
It is no one’s fault. In the scheme of things, the loss of my two gourami and tricolor shark is very little. I know people who still have no power, who have sent their kids away to live with relatives until conditions improve. There are people whose entire homes flooded. I heard of someone whose dog drowned during the storm, because the water came in so fast into the home. I know of many people whose houses were covered in raw sewage who still can’t go home, because it’s not sanitary. And there are the entire communities that our power company has removed from their numbers, because the power infrastructure is so damaged that it will take more than a month to repair.
All the same, these are small creatures whose entire well-being was in my hands and I couldn’t keep them safe. It’s a loss that lays heavy on my heart. It will probably be a while before we add any more fish to the tank, as sad as it is to look at the full containers of fish food that are no longer required, as the remaining fish is an algae eater.
Life is slowly getting back to normal here. Trash pick-up happened for me today, for the first time since the storm hit. My train line is out for the foreseeable future, but other than the two hour commute, my life is about to be much the same as it ever was. I wish that all of my neighbors and friends could say as much.