It’s a strange feeling to be waiting for a storm. You get this weird sense of suspension. I’m taking advantage of all the warnings to stay indoors, and doing some good work this weekend.

I called my parents, who live in southern New Jersey (outside Philadelphia), and asked them, “How’s the weather?” Har-de-har.  My Dad cheerily told me that he figured out the vector of the wind and is fairly confident that if the big willow tree falls, it will land between the house and the garage.  My Mom, who grew up on a vegetable farm, told me her heart is going out to all the farmers who have acres and acres of tomatoes ripening at this moment. Rain like this is devastating to tomatoes, she said.

It started raining around 1pm here; the worst rain and wind are predicted for tomorrow; I’m not concerned, though I do expect we’ll lose power. As I watch the radar map on TV, I keep thinking of Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Long Winter.  They had no way of knowing when the next blizzard was going to come, until it came.  If they’d had radar and telephones and all that stuff, would Almanzo and Cap Garland’s courageous quest for grain have been less terrifying?  I still get the willies when I think about how close they came to getting caught in that next blizzard.  I also keep thinking about this one winter when I was a kid: A blizzard knocked our power out, and the power stayed out for days. I happened to be sick. You know what it was in the house?  COLD.  This storm that’s about to happen will not be cold.

Why do the news people think it’s a good idea to stick their news anchor out in the middle of surging waves in hip waders while he or she tells us what the weather is like on the coast of Maryland?  That strikes me as extremely silly.  It’s dangerous and unnecessary, and it makes the news people look like they’re desperate to make everything seem more dangerous than it actually is.  In addition to which, the waves that keep hitting him make it impossible for us to understand what he’s saying.  Just… tell us what it’s like in words that we can hear, and show us a picture with no humans, okay?  Geez.

Well, back to my book.  Stay safe, everyone.

Hurricane Irene, August 27, 2011. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project