August 27, 2011:
It's one p.m., and all's quiet. It's been nonstop Irene on the airwaves, but where is she? We had all our supplies in here on High Street by yesterday afternoon. This morning we put the outdoor furniture in the shed, turned the teak table upside down, pushed the Weber against the back wall. The wind will come from the east, then the southeast, then the southwest, working its way around the compass. The back of the house faces south, so that broad expanse will take the brunt of it. I do wonder where the birds go--maybe into the hedges. We'll bring the bird feeders into the shed, too, late this afternoon. Our wind chimes are already in the house. We're ready. But where is she?
I find it hard to get any real work done, waiting for Irene. Lorraine is in her office, her door closed, chipping away at her book, a sculptress with her chisel. Me, I've only done the Saturday crossword puzzle, and I blanked on the southwest corner. Very bad. Then I inexplicably jumped to the conclusion that my nephew Ted was a new father, when he was only holding somebody else's baby (this on Facebook), and I saw Ted and his nonpregnant wife in person only a few weeks ago. My mind seems to be on Irene even when it isn't. But Irene doesn't come. Irene may be more of a media event than a weather event, people are panicking all over the East, but I'm not panicking. I just can't concentrate on anything. The calm before this storm is just too damned long.
While Hurricane Bob raged outside friends of ours were staying with us, shelter from the storm, and we drank martinis. But I don't want to do that now. I want Irene, I want to watch her wave her mighty hands at us and try to knock us over; I want to go for a walk downtown in the midst of it and see what's happening to the boats. I know I'm going to spend the night listening to her, listening for the sound of limbs falling and roof shingles blowing away and dripping somewhere in the house. But I'd like it to happen sooner rather than later. You are a tease, Irene. Shame on you.
OK, maybe I shouldn't scold such a wicked witch. Let's be nice to Mother Nature. Cross my fingers, knock on wood. But the air outside is clammy, heavy; it's like breathing through a wet sock. Forty-eight hours from now, it's going to be sunny, dry, and cool. So let's get on with it. "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! / You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout/ Till you have drenched our steeples!" That's King Lear. He knows the feeling. We can endure most things, but waiting is hard.