|Photo Credit: Friend of Lu's|
Since there's no doubt, at least here in Cucumberland, that we are about to lose power I thought I'd take a moment to compose a post before the opportunity flickers into obfuscation. (Actually, I'm sneaking this in between outages.) See, this is how it works here. Things go dark. Not only during hurricanes or tropical storms, or even days that bluster gently (yes, this is possible), but also during a total, all-embracing tempest known as writer's block. This has been the case for me for the last two weeks. With the exception of poetry, I've written zilch. But throw an obstacle on my course—please!—make it something that—if it can't be avoided—I'll hit hard, make time count, right down to the wire, then maybe, just maybe, I'll produce.
(Perhaps I trust that I really do work better under pressure.)
Then there is Lu, who, in her sparkly blue-eyed youth, has again drifted outside in the midst of this tropical storm. Her father found her in the street, barefoot on hard-packed tar, face lifted into the driving rain and howling winds, red maples and pines reaching out to her. She to them.
What are you doing out there? He calls to her.
(She is communicating. Does he not know?)
Just wanna walk around, I need fresh air, it's raining, it's a hurricane, and I want to be outside in it, she answers casually.
Fresh air. Really darling, come in. Come in to where it's safe. Come away from under electrical wires and trees that go snap in the wind. She can't though. She's compelled to be in and under all those things, these treacherous things that carry impellent power over all reason. Why is it we strangely and instinctively want to center ourselves in the core of a storm? In Rhode Island, mandatory evacuations have been declared in several low-lying and coastal communities. But by the seawall in Narragansett poncho-festooned people wait just behind the stone barrier for waves to crash against and over it, as if the rain and wind is not enough. It's not. They want to feel the surge. They want, they need, storm to surge flesh and soul. After all, this is the kind of obstacle that wakes us, isn't it? This is the surge that tells us we're still alive!
I understand the urge for a surge. Even in these partly-sparkly hazel-eyed middle years, I appreciate the rush of a dangerous storm surge, or a blackout, or a deadline. It speaks to my very core. A generative reminder that time passes in a flash. Grab it. Communicate. Write, dammit.