punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

An Ill Wind that Blows Nobody Good...

in a tower of steel
nature forges a deal
to raise wonderful hell
like me
like me

my name isobel ....

Björk - "Isobel"

So, here we are. Hurricane Isabel is coming ... maybe. Since this is worrying me to death ... probably needlessly, but you know how I like to worry... I have decided to talk about it.

It was 1979... I think. Somewhere around when school started, at any rate. Hurricane David was a horrible storm that had flattened the Caribbean Islands, smashed into Florida, and then like a gutter ball, rolled up the coast, up the Chesapeake, and hit us in McLean (in the DC Metro area). By the time it got to us, it was barely a hurricane, but boy, what a wallop. My father didn't get any supplies, he didn't board up any windows, and in his defense, we didn't suffer afterwards, but boy did the neighbors waggle their fingers at us. I watched the huge ornamental black cherry trees in our yard bend back and forth, but we didn't loose more than a few larger limbs. We lost power for about 3 days, and school was closed because the roof of my elementary school had sustained major water damage, and a few windows broke inwards. Almost all of the old-growth willow trees in our neighborhood were blown down. Later that year, Hurricane Frederic blew through, and the storm that nearly flattened Alabama was just a lot of wind by the time it got to us.

Later in life, Hurricane Bonnie was right behind us as we left Hatteras after a glorious one-week vacation in 1998, and the next year, the evacuation orders for Hurricane Dennis hit the day we arrived, so we had to turn around and go home.

I am not fond of Hurricanes.

But I will say one thing: they always give you plenty of warning. Unlike an earthquake or a tornado, they don't sneak up on you. I will give them that. And living in DC is almost natural-disaster free, except every 4-5 years we get a blizzard of some kind, and every 25 years or so, when we get a strong hurricane. So I guess it was time. The last BIG one to hit us was 1954, and that one was barely a category 2. As I speak now, the storm is weakening down to a category 2, although they think it will pick up some steam in the next 24 hours. Or not. It's hard to tell with hurricanes. Sneaky bastards.

I don't know what I will do if it hits us. If it's a category 1 or lower, I'll probably stay home. If it's 2 or greater, we're evacuating to West Virginia. We can't go to a storm shelter with 4 cats and 2 dogs. I tried to get the Saturn wagon to work, but it wouldn't start, and I don't have the time or money to figure out why at this time. So we'll have to pack everyone in the blue Saturn. That will suck. Christine's out now getting supplies.

Funny ... we had an Equinox meeting this weekend at Haven. I wonder if that will be canceled or ... intensified? Of course, by Saturday, it will be too late to do much of anything. A hurricane is like a wall, you have no idea what it feels like until you feel one coming. I felt the Dennis one coming, and it was absolutely incredible. Imagine this: you lie face down on the ground, with your arms outstretched, and your feet pressed flat against the wall. Imagine you are not lying face down, but standing up and pressing your face and arms against a wall. Your feet are "standing" on a floor (yes, the wall, but imagine its the floor ... trick your brain). Now fool your brain over and over again that you are not lying down, but that you are standing up. Press yourself to the floor. After a minute of this, your brain starts to believe what you say. You may even adjust your feet to "keep from falling to one side." Now that you think the floor is your wall*. Feel the Earth in "front" of you. Imagine the earth is one ... big ... wall. When your brain thinks this, you will feel very, very small, and slightly panicked.

That's what a hurricane feels like, when feeling it come in while on a beach. It seriously humbled me.

*Many thanks to my old friend and ex-Prune Geoff Adams for this exercise.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000214.html
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