(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.
I see a lot of her mother in that face... and that attitude... i meant to write a piece about the hurricane i rode out a summer long ago but was to busy battening down the hatches and warily eyeing the trees behind my house, oh what i wouldn't give sometimes to be in one of those flophouse apartments far from the trees and the power lines, walking to the bar in a downpour and watching the weather channel and getting drunk on wind and wine, alas i sit here eyeing trees...ReplyDelete
Kono- Heh. Yup, too much. (That's scary.) Oh to be tied to a house, domesticity... the things you can no longer enjoy--like a rip roaring good Hurricane. I remember after Gloria--back in 1985, I was living on the east side of Providence, by Brown and RISD--a group of us gathered at a friends place with cases of beer and contraband, taped the windows and had a grand time. Later, when the she-storm calmed, we marched all glassy-eyed down to the hurricane barrier, stepping over live wires and debris, and marveled at the mess. How different the whole experience is when you have a mortgage and children. Eyeing trees. Who'd-a thought. ;)Delete
Yay nicely written and I have tried to express the same thing in the past - like as a journo you sometimes need a deadline to give you a metaphorical shock and to make you write - hope the power stays on and you guys stay safe out there as it seems worse up north this time.ReplyDelete
David- I really wish I didn't need those metaphorical shocks, but I've got to be honest w/myself (I'm too old not to), I do! I'm gearing up for some major shock treatment, actually (even w/power on), and I'm hoping the generator kicks in smoothly.Delete
BTW- We lost power for 3 to 4 hours tops. Piece of cake compared to last year's Irene--when we lost power for 3-4 days!
Fortunately there's still the good old fashioned journal to document :)ReplyDelete
It's 66 and sunny in Portland today. I rode my bike today gloriously.
EG- so true. As long as there are paper and pens! Sounds wonderful on the west coast. It's been way too long since I've been out that way. Do you have a little basket hooked to your bike? I can picture that. :)Delete
I can see where she gets it, that calmness in the face of the storm. I can relate. :)ReplyDelete
Oh YA, Nessa - so CALM!!! You know, I've never had an Elizabeth Gilbert epic bathroom-floor-breakdown, but I have had my moments, trust me. Will probably have many more. ;)Delete
And the colored girls goReplyDelete
Doo do doo, doo do doo, doo do doo
Sorry, just popped into my mind about a paragraph down.
Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side
I figure you know that but then was thinking maybe the words without the sounds won't bring it home.
Ha! Ru--I had that song in my head for the rest of the evening after I read your comment! Love Lou.Delete
LOVE the wild side. Of anything. Until I get scared. ;)
I've been stranded here in our Maine cottage all day. No train service, no car, all alone and I understand that need to feel the surge. Something to force me in to writing. But not a word today. Tomorrow maybe? Glad to see another post!ReplyDelete
Bill- I hope there was no damage up there or in Beantown. A relative of mine in Cambridge lost a window--blown right out! I think it's ok to take a break. Especially during a state of emergency. And for a while beyond that too!Delete
Oh yes. Working under pressure. I can really get stuff accomplished under pressure. Give me lots of time and I putter.ReplyDelete
Ellen- Time. So little, yet too much when we don't use it wisely. I try not to putter--truly I've no time to putter but I somehow manage to fit it in. Heh. Boy will I happy the day I can putter and have all the time in the world to do it. Um, I'm not sure if I really believe what I just wrote. Hmm. ;)Delete
I love the expression you've captured on Lu's face. To be young and fearless... with an ATTITUDE.ReplyDelete
Judging by the wind force we had this far inland, I can't imagine what it was like nearer the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast. You mentioned your power outage and I hope that's well past now. Keep warm!
Leonora- I'm glad you mentioned the photo--made me realize I didn't give it the proper credit. A friend of Lu's took it at school, and I borrowed it. It's now duly noted under the picture.Delete
We were all right, for the most part, throughout the storm. Lost power for only a few hours, but in those hours we lit candles and the kids waited it out by playing a game of Stratego (that was one of my favorites when I was a kid). It was a happy surprise to find them scrawled across the floor, strategizing. So intense! Best part of losing power. ;)
I believe you have captured the Youthful Excitement one has at her age when something exciting like a Hurricane comes along. I hope at my age, I have not lost that! Although it does take some proding to get me to meet a deadline, but if it is something I really enjoy, I get the "urge to surge" and am excited to do it. :) Working under pressure seems to be my life most often.ReplyDelete
Ah yes, Gary, youthful excitement. I almost remember what it was like. In fact, I very much do. I was one of those kids who couldn't wait 'til the storm came in. I'd be one of the first out the door--right into it. There were so many of us, though, I don't think my parents ever noticed. :/Delete
Here's the thing: I don't really like to work under pressure. Makes me a little crazy and the migraine kicks in, but the output is usually pretty good. I don't know... I need to find a better way. ;)
plaudits to your daughter. i felt that way at her age and still do - hope when the time comes that i'm howling at the wind well into my crone years.ReplyDelete
(but yet, moms are wont to warn our cubs away from the power lines, the lightning, etc. i was on the phone with my girl in nyc countless times during the storm)
write, dammit, indeed.
You and me both, Amanda! Get out right in it--what was better than that? (Well, there was my grandmother's strawberry rhubarb pie.) I have a feeling you'll be howling well into those crony, cantankerous days!Delete
Hope your NYC girl's ok. Boy, I feel for everyone caught in that mess. Pretty horrible!
I like, "She is communicating..." Just being pumped to be alive. Wonder. Excitement. Reverence. Inspiration for these hazel eyed middle years.ReplyDelete
Scott- She's a master communicator. She pretty much perfected the art of communing. Seriously. No doubt, in college, she will major in all things communion. Oh Lordy. ;)Delete
Jayne, this was beautiful.ReplyDelete
'It's a hurricane.'
I think I want to stamp that across my heart. Please thank your daughter for inspiring a whole legion of people who read and love your words. (And hers.)
Suze- LOL!!! Across your heart?!!! Love that. I'll be sure to pass your comment along to Lu--I guarantee she will laugh as loudly as I did. Sweet woman you are. (I agree, I think it would make a swell tattoo!) :)Delete
First, has Lu seen the movie "Chasing Mavericks"? The wife tells her husband who is a serious surfer (when not installing roofs), "I get why you do this". Why can't I meet a woman this perceptive? (I'm sounding like the lyrics from "Jessie's Girl"). Just the same, I'm sorry you guys are in harms way of Mother Nature (so memorable to me from those Imperial margarine TV commercials). Lastly, age is very deceptive. You at "middle age"? Hardly, my friend. Hazle-eyed and gorgeous. Yes. Try thinking of some kooky humor to write about from childhood obervations. Just a thought, relative to "Write, dammit"--which made me laugh. Be safe, Jayne! :)ReplyDelete
No, Michael--we don't often get out to the movies! More likely, we'll watch once we can see it on DVD or Netflix. But Lu gets out to the theatre on a rare occasion with her friends, although she hasn't asked about Chasing Mavericks. The last movie she saw, about a month ago, was Finding Nemo (yet, again!), but in 3D. I don't think she'll ever tire of that movie.Delete
Hmm... I once wrote a humorous story about how my younger sister fell through the ceiling and practically on to my lap. Maybe I should revisit that one. ;)
Oh, and well, to be honest, I'm really a bit past "middle age" but I appreciate your kind comment! :)
I hope you got through Sandy without damage. We will probably get get the remnants of her coming over here shortly. However, the ocean in the north is to cold to fuel the hurricanes, fortunately.ReplyDelete
Cold As Heaven
No damage in Cucumberland, Cold. And fortunately our roof didn't leak like it usually does in a mighty storm. The contract's back to the roofer, though, and we ought to seeing some new shingles soon. Probably not soon enough, though. ;)Delete
Thank you Jayne, for inspiring this: there is a primal excitement when faced with a most basic fear. Probably helps us survive. Nothing like a real storm to remind us.ReplyDelete
Was thinking about the same thing.
And then, there was another real storm... Snow is now on the ground... the air frigid... still reminding us...Delete
Obviously, I don't know Lu. And I don't know how much (if at all) she was mugging when her friend took the picture. But I can easily imagine her when she's, oh, say, in her 50s, coming across this photo in her Flickr archive or wherever they're keeping such things then. I can imagine her showing it to her partner and saying, This has always been one of my favorite pictures of me. I can imagine her partner saying, Me, too. It's a beauty!ReplyDelete
Back in the mid-'80s, there was a TV weatherman in NYC named Lloyd Lindsay Young who was mesmerizing to watch. He was sort of the Crazy Eddie's of weathermen, just completely animatedly gaga over all things meteorological. Of course he was a favorite of mine (we picked him up in central Jersey). When we once caught a bit of a hurricane in NJ/NY, I naturally tuned in to LLY to see how it had unhinged him. He was standing in front of the weather map, facing the camera but slapping with his hand at the map behind him. Just LOOK at that BAROMETRIC PRESSURE!!! he was screaming. To this day I think those remain the funniest six words I've ever heard on TV. (Maybe you had to be there.)
For the second straight year, we're in the odd position of having had (here in the Florida "Big Bend") a relatively uneventful hurricane season... watching the Northeast get clobbered by a named autumn storm. Glad to hear you yourself didn't get too badly hit this time around!
Numerous of my family members are still without power, which may continue into mid-week. Of course the news reports focus on gasoline shortages, rationing and so on. Less reported on (as far as I've seen anyway) is the rationing of hot water. One sister has, in the last four days or so, gone to four different places to take showers. I told her she may have discovered a new hobby: bathing tourism.
Beautifully crafted piece, as always. (And it comes as absolutely no surprise that you're attuned to the pleasures of danger.)
By the by, when life returns to what passes for "normal," I've come across a writer you might like: Lia Purpura. (whiskey river introduced me to her and I in turn have already introduced her to the Kindle :).) You can find some of her writing (poems and essays) linked to from her site.
The photo is a beauty, JES. And I mean, she is a beauty in many ways--especially in the way my father used to say You're a beauty after I'd done or said something he may have thought uniquely odd (perhaps, didn't particularly appreciate). (How I wish I'd written down her every word.)Delete
I must remember to ask Michael if he is familiar w/Lloyd Young. He sounds like the sort of guy who might make for a good central character in a piece of fiction. Hearing someone scream "Just LOOK at that BAROMETRIC PRESSURE!!!" would scare the Dickens out of me, as I know, for me, this equates to: GIANT sinus headache!
We had our power restored quickly compared with so many others... I feel for the many who are still waiting, and hope yours (family) have been taken care of by now. (Bathing tourism. That could take off, you know. ;))
Looking up Lia via your link. Thank you!
oh yeah, jayne, i totally get the need to be in IT, to feel IT. i was witnessing the storm from overseas and that was really strange for me. glad to hear all is well in your neck of the woods.ReplyDelete
now to the even more serious stuff. how about those fingers of yours? are they tap-tapping away, or gripping a sweaty pen? they better be, but then i have no doubt they are. time, or the lack thereof, will have worked its magic, right? you will have centered yourself in your storm.....
Tapping, M--can't keep up w/the thoughts lately. Problem is I have stacks of research to organize to which thoughts must be correlated and that's a task that frays me. So, well, I still have some centering to do. :/ReplyDelete
Overseas, eh? Lucky you! I'll have to head over to your whispering Dreams to see what's going on. :)