Early this morning I received an alert from my no-fail personal emergency broadcast system: my black cat, Lucy. Said emergency had nothing to do with the approach of Choose-Your Category-Take-Your-Best-Guess Storm Henri. Her concern? Breakfast service, STAT.
Ordinarily I would have rolled over and informed her she could cool her paws until a decent hour. But she was oddly skittish, and I knew kicking her out of the bedroom would be futile. Grumbling, I stepped into the hallway and was immediately hit by a disgustingly stagnant wall of heat. The morning was way darker than usual, too.
Uh oh. Something, to quote Madeline’s Miss Clavel, was not right. A quick check of my phone confirmed this. (Note: This photo is from 3 hours later, because I didn’t save it at the time, and it got updated. But we live at the exact spot where Henri takes a hard turn to the right.)
Yup, in a few short hours we here in Southwestern New Hampshire would be in for a treat: heavy winds, rains, flash floods, and possible tornadoes. Sure, we’re used to sudden storms and rapidly changing weather in New England. Ho-hum. But after the weird summer we’ve had, with untold mega liquid tons of rain (I think that’s the correct meteorological term), our yard confirms that Birnam Wood approacheth. And yes, I know how much my West Coast friends would love to have all this…moisture…but it’s been very, very strange. Usually, big storms move up from the south and blow out to sea, but this is 2021—so the storm is coming from the sea.
Okay. Time to prepare, because really, you just can’t be too careful. No sense waking up my hubby. Here’s his general response to my overblown caution re: everything I see on the 24/7 news these days:
I should point out, however, that yesterday he checked the generator AND the chainsaw, just in case. (We live in the woods.)
I go through the checklist for Wicked Staahms: batteries in flashlights (as opposed to somewhere in the pantry), camping lantern, ice, remove the flags and buntings, run water in the tub, move the potted plants and deck furniture and whatever else might go flying, pick the prettiest flowers and place them in pitchers so they didn’t bloom in vain, drag sandbags in front of basement doors (ah-ha! Hubby already took care of that last one.). And, of course, have that bright yellow slicker handy.
Overkill? Yes. So many people have things a lot worse right now, both weather-wise and life-wise. There’s no comparison. I know I’m trying to control things that are beyond anyone’s control. But I have to work on this fear issue. The roller coaster has been controlling me lately, and it’s hard to focus on writing. Well, harder. But I do have one memory that never fails to put me back on a more even keel.
Thirty-three years and one month ago, on a desperately hot July afternoon, I took a Circle Line ferry trip around the island of Manhattan with my dad and 5-month-old daughter. As we rounded the northern end, we encountered a sudden, violent storm. As in, people fled the bar screaming and ran from one side of the boat to the other as giant waves sent huge walls of water crashing onto the deck. The captain asked everyone to remain seated for even weight distribution, but no one listened. Not sure I blamed them—our “seats” were unanchored wooden folding chairs set up in rows on the deck. They slid all over the place, along with the tourists. But my dad, the former Navy man, stood there in the wind, his hands firmly on the back of the empty chair in front of him. “A little squall,” he said, but I was petrified. “What should we do?” I said, envisioning the Titanic. He answered in three words: Stay the course.
Of course, that’s what the captain of the Titanic probably said. But in the end, it turned out to be the right call for us (although we did get very, very wet). The “squall” passed, the sun came out, and it got even hotter. By the time we reached the pier, we and the decks were completely dry. It was as if we’d sailed through a bad dream.
So now the hatches are battened here at the cabin, and it’s time to start in on the daily word count. Oh. Wait. Twitter just said Henri made landfall in…Rhode Island?
STAY THE COURSE, 2021!
Readers, how are you dealing with the crazy weather–or general stress–these days? Let us know in the comments!