Sunday, August 28, 2011

Before and After Irene

We had to prepare for the approaching storm. Patio furniture lurked outside, spiky with metal legs that could impale something during hundred mile an hour winds. Umbrellas could be turned into weapons. Trashcans could become true dirty bombs.

It was Friday night, and the air was still warm from the day. My daughter ran in front of us, laughing in the dark, leaving a darker trail in the grass. She insisted on lugging chairs by herself, lifting them over the grass to the garage. My husband and I brought the heavy, cast iron tables.

The trees were motionless. I knew that within 24 hours their branches would whip around, tossed by Irene. I helped my husband carry a huge box filled with pool toys, as well as an inflatable slide. We planned to put it all back after the storm.

After we finished, all three of us panted, dripping with sweat. We looked at the pool, shining turquoise with the underwater light. It was already ten o'clock, an impossible hour for my daughter.

We went in, got dressed into bathing suits, and went into the water. It was chilly, but it felt wonderful after lugging furniture around. Giant leaf bugs saw the light and plunged into the water. We had already stashed the skimmer - it could become an airborne spear during a hurricane, after all - so I rescued them with my cupped hands.

My husband did a cannonball and soaked us with his spray. My daughter laughed again - a high-pitched, delighted sound.

Drenched from the swim, we went back into the house. We toweled off and got into pajamas. I made popcorn and the daughter watched a few minutes of a movie.

I had the feeling that the weather was changing. After the hurricane the end of summer would be here. Why did it take me so long to run out into a summer night, watching my kid run around in the dark?

8 comments:

Jason McIntyre said...

Because we ALL wait just a little too long. It takes pending hurricanes or a diagnosis to make us stop the waiting and just 'do'. Nice post, Allie.

Kara said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!

Krista M said...

It sounds like a nice night, even though there was impending harm. Almost like a scene out of a movie before the end of the world. Great! I hope you managed safely.

Lisa Zhang Wharton said...

What a nice article. I really enjoy it and can see you all slapshing around in the water before Iren comes.

Christine Murray said...

The language in this post is beautiful, Alison. Really atmospheric.

Alison said...

Thanks so much for the nice comments, everyone! That night made me remember all those summers playing Murder in the Dark and catching fireflies - nothing is better!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, this was fabulous, Alison--a good reminder to enjoy it while we can. I'm glad you all survived Irene safely and without impaling your neighbors with your furniture or tools!

Doreen said...

I was lucky enough to have all 13 of my grandchildren at the beach the first week of summer. Watching them play [In the Street] well into the night is such a sweet summer memory. I'm not ready for the summer to go...