Monday, September 5, 2011
My Friend Irene, the Hurricane
Hurricane Irene made her sweeping entrance along the East Coast of the U.S., just as I was visiting my mermaid friends in New England. At the height of the storm on Sunday, August 28th, I swam close to shore, in a place called Pawtuxet Cove, seeking refuge from Irene's tantrum in the wake of her fury (read: reduced to Tropical Storm from Category 3).
There was hardly any rain throughout the day, only a salty spray falling through the air and carried by immense swirls of 60 mile per hour winds. I tasted the salty rain. The air was humid and heavy with the scent of flowers, grass and ocean carried along by the wind. I sought shelter below an old bridge, where the river empties into the cove, and where the ocean swells petered to rough, shallow water that I knew could not harm me.
But it was the wind all day long that I feared. It came in rhythmic gusts, reaching spasmodic crescendos that felt to me like the waves of a woman's birthing labors. I held these rhythms to my heart and my belly, feeling the surge and ebb of Irene, until she was done with her work late that evening, moving north, pruning the landscape as she went.