20 September, 2003

Friday, 19 September

Hurricane Aftermath

We are one of only a very few pockets in my neighborhood to have power. Do you know how lucky we are? Hawk asks. Without asking what he refers to, I answer, Every day.

We were on the roof this afternoon, he hammering new shingles to replace the ones the wind had torn away, me up and down the ladder and steep slope of roof in bare feet, carrying more shingles, a trash bag, more shingles. I look around, down, at the toy neighborhood spread beneath us. He stretches out, looks up, up at a flat grey sky, beginning to spit the last fitful moisture of Hurricane Isabel. I speculate about the possibilities of alfresco amore on the roof. He tels me not to plan on hiding from the children up here.

Earlier, we go to Dana, the truck wash, find a car parked in the middle of a lake of standing water, right at the lot's entrance. I stand to watch some tankers pull out of the lot, through the"puddle" and onto the road. Cars approach, slow, do three-point turns, heading back the way they came. No one goes in, no one comes out.

Conan O'Brian says there was a lot of nothing going on in New York City during the hurricane. Not here. Millions lack power, thousands clear downed trees. Fells Point is under water. The Inner Harbor extends to the bases of the buildings across Light Street.

Thursday, 18 September.

Isabel Approaches, Closer

I get talked out of heading to the beach by the tears of my children, the sensible chat of my best girlfriend, the sympathetic wistful if-onlys of my husband, who understands, and the closing of the Bay Bridge. Instead, I go to the edge of the harbor, park the truck, watch the wind whipping the bay into froth-topped coffee. It's boring. I get out of the truck, the rain stings as it strikes my skin. I pick my way to the rocks, which are littered with trash from hasty meals eaten by crabbers and fishermen. Leaving my cloggs at the spot where grass meets rock, I balance barefoot on slimecoated stones, approaching the edge. Standing, perched precarious, I spread arms out to meet the wind, feeling surge of storm driven power. Birds blow backwards across the sky. Clouds circle in smutty lumps, around, around. Blow, wind! Fall, rain! My clothes press against my body, wet by the prick of rain. My face is assaulted with ungentle, winddriven kisses. Ducks bob up and down, riding rollercoaster wavelets. It will be stronger, more impressive, later, but it will not be daylight then. I will not see the water as anything but a dark blanket, moving restless over a squirming seasprite.

Dinner is planned with CJ. Scotty is away, taking care of aging parents. I invite my sister along. We think it will be us girls and the children. We are surprised by two men, Adam, whose meeting has been cancelled, and Hawk, whose terminal has closed down. It is our anniversary. I am rewarded for not endangering myself, my children. Cory takes the children home with her.

Hawk and I drive our separate cars home in driving wind, sheeting rain. Carefully, carefully, the truck is a sail, the car is a surfer, its bald tires offering no purchase under the gentlest of inclement conditions. The storm is picking up.

We sleep through the worst of it, waking in the morning to hot winds and lawns littered with tattered branches and bits of torn off shingle. The weathermen who stand kneedeep in surf, or are filmed being blown off their feet by gusts are more pitied than envied. I have been reminded who my family is, and have appreciated their anchoring force, for I am a kite, too easily blown around by the whims of nature and my own emotional impulsivity.

No comments: