Saturday, August 27, 2011
I am an utter weather geek. I fully admit it. In fact, I was following Hurricane Irene back when she was just a no-name tropical depression. (Sure, she’s good now—but those first few days she was amazing—so raw and fresh.) Now everyone knows about her and, honestly, I don’t think she’s as good as she was back before the websites and live blogs and hourly updates. (It’s a lot like REM back in “83.)
Anyway, I had our dogs in East Rock Park yesterday morning. It was beautifully clear and warm—no evidence of a storm in sight. And yet just knowing that she was out there, gyrating in the warm Atlantic east of Georgia, changed everything about the way I saw the park. I didn’t just see majestic oaks spaced pleasingly around a large open area off of Livingston Street. Instead, everything I looked at became a “BEFORE” picture in my mind.
In fact, knowing Irene was on her destructive way changed the way I saw not just the park, but the world. Everything took its place in relation to some future event. I think humans are the only species capable of this sort of psycho-intellectual time travel. We can project ourselves both forward and back and imagine the present as past or future. Pretty amazing.
So, here I sit in our dining room, waiting for Irene, in an extended moment that is one long “before.”
Being the episodic melancholic that I am, it’s got me thinking of analogues. And of course my mind goes right away to the one big thing that is always out there for humans, somewhere out in the ocean, gathering strength, bearing down inevitably on each of us. I know a hurricane is coming and I fill bottles of water, bring the furniture inside, close all the windows, make sure we have flashlights and batteries. I prepare.
More generally, I know that I am going to die, yet I put off the preparations. I don’t make the important changes or have the essential conversations. The moment in the park yesterday reminded me that, really, all our moments are “before” moments if we choose to give them their full due.