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?