Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29: Hurricane

No, there's no hurricane here. Barely a breeze to rustle the shining green birch leaves out my window. It's a perfectly still, calm, beautifully sunny late summer afternoon. Crickets are humming, a stalk of goldenrod sways under the weight of a bee. A kettle of vultures soars gracefully above the river, tilting in the updraft, spiraling ever higher into the bright blue sky.

That's why it seems surreal to think of Hurricane Isaac, thousands of miles to the south, battering Louisiana with torrential rains, high winds, flooding, and power outages. Unless you've got loved ones in the storm's path or have Southern roots, it's so easy in this quiet little pocket of the world to forget that elsewhere things aren't going so well. Not that we shouldn't enjoy these halcyon days. But we should also be grateful, really savor them. And keep in our thoughts those whose homes and lives are in danger right now.

It's been such a wonderful summer here in Maine--so unusually sunny and warm. Conversations about the weather all repeat the same belief that we're going to pay for this perfect season somewhere down the line--with a big storm, a long winter, something bad. We can't help thinking that way. Such old-style Puritanism is bred into us as New Englanders. And at some point, we will get horrible weather, some disaster like Hurricane Irene a year ago in Vermont, so we're always right in the end. But really, we all know that Nature brings what she brings, regardless of what we deserve. And we weather it the best we can.

So calm this morning
vultures had to flap, awkward
in early thermals.

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