While the grogginess of waking comes over me, on this gray rainy morning in early October, an autumnal mood hangs in the atmosphere. Yesterday, we were forewarned of the coming of Joaquín. Beware! A huge hurricane was riding the waves of the sea! Relieved, we were spared from another big one.
With the season in our midst, I remember the occurrence of Hurricane Gloria, at the end of September of 1985. Coming from the Midwest, this was the first hurricane I experienced in my life. Similarly, my husband came from the Ring of Fire, where earthquakes are the norm. In light of the newness of it all, fear was not on my agenda, having lived through many a Wisconsin tornado and blizzard.
The morning before Gloria’s expected arrival, on the advice of a vigilant neighbor, I hurried out to buy batteries, only to find every store, wiped out of supplies. No new batteries, and no duct tape, to secure the windows. Making do with the Duracells, found around the house, I prayed the panes wouldn’t break. Well, the storm, a lesson in science, was proven to be an all day process, moving into the next. As I stood, looking out the divided lights, I saw the trees bend and sway back and forth. They moved 180 degrees, from one side to the other, like sticks of licorice. The daunting speed of the wind caused the trees to crash to the ground around the house. One, two, three and another, uprooted from the base, they fell with a huge thump. The house was being spared, except for the electrical box. Without warning, a trunk like branch from a tree fell on the wires extending to the street, and the metal case was abruptly severed from the clapboard siding, strewing live wires all over the ground, outside. Then, an incredible stillness enveloped the air as the eye of the storm passed overhead, only to be followed by a more gently flowing wind. Nearing the end, Mother Nature had orchestrated a tremendous performance, with her emissary; The great and powerful Gloria!
Life was disrupted for several weeks into the month of October. The clean up was slow going, and the crews worked morning and night to restore electricity. The public waited patiently, as fleets of trucks, were sent from Quebec. They were like the Messiah, coming to bring everyone out of the dark. A heavily wooded state, storms inevitably pose a problem for Connecticut, and its residents can pretty much expect to cook with propane, and burn the lamplight oil.
Well, we survived. I look back, with gratitude that I had no small children to watch out for, and, there was no loss of life, at least that I know of in Connecticut, or New England.
Sitting on the Atlantic Coast, we wait patiently, and ponder, as hurricane season descends upon us. Will the brewing storms perish at sea, like Joaquín, or should one “batten down the hatches’, before it’s too late? In my quest for enlightenment, I ask myself, “What kind of a sailor will I be in the next storm? Will I have duct tape and batteries, and jugs and jugs of water? Will my bathtub be filled, and overflowing?” The question is not; Will another storm blow in? but rather, How can I ever be prepared? Having not the answers, with affection, and humble regard for the unknown, I recall the beloved words of E.B. White. “I cannot not sail.”