Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

August 27, 2011
Queensbury, NY


Over the past few days, there has been news of a hurricane heading up the east coast, straight for the Adirondacks! It is due to arrive within hours as I write this. Hopefully, by the time it scrapes its bottom on New York City and the Berkshires, it will have toned down to “just” a tropical storm.

People at work are joking about it and not doing much to prepare. I mean, what can happen, up here in the mountains? They chuckled at my suggestions to prepare - saying instead, those it's those folks at the coast who had better watch out. Besides, those forecasters always exaggerate !

But having sat through several small brushes with small hurricanes, (including one memorable canoe-camping trip during which Hurricane Bob came to visit Lake Umbagog), I know they can be fickle and changeable, a thing which can also make them dangerous to underestimate.

So, in between working extra long hours at work (God forbid anyone should be made to miss their newpaper’s TV listings!)
I made my preparation list:

Gas up the car -- check
Replace batteries in flashlights and lanterns -- check
Make extra ice cubes -- check
Charge up all camera, phone batteries -- check
Have plenty of toilet paper on hand -- check
Spam and peanut butter in cupboard? -- check
Remove things from our apartment balcony that could turn into projectiles in a gale -- check
Get together a “go-bag” in case apt. roof blows off
and we have to leave. --
(well I didn’t tell Mom about that one, she thought I was crazy just getting out the lanterns!)

Yummy new book ordered from the library, waiting to be read -- check
Check the levels on my bottle of Gosling’s. -- check and double-check!

Feeling now as prepared as possible, without incurring further ridicule, I went for a short walk after dinner. We’d probably be confined to quarters on Sunday, if not longer.

It has been hot and muggy all week, but tonight was the muggiest.
The air, very still and oppressive. Ringlike clouds were already moving in from the south. I looked to Nature herself, for signs of impending doom.

 At the cornfields, I wondered if the stalks would be knocked over by the high winds that are forecast for tomorrow. Farmers in the next county are worrying about their apples.

The pink clover peeked out cautiously, as if hiding.

It was hours before sunset, but a bumblebee was already hunkering down nearby.

I walked quickly, being hounded for the first time in weeks by very aggressive mosquitos. The last supper??

Along the path, a Cottontail darted out of the bushes. He seemed pretty twitchy, and unsure of where he wanted to be. Maybe the mosquitoes were bothering him, too.

The last sign was pretty unusual. I was on a path where I regularly see snails – er, slugs, actually – especially after a rain. You have to crouch down low to admire them as they crawl painstakingly on the ground or lower vegetation.

I saw a Common Sunflower, about 4 feet tall, with a lump at the top. Being in Bug-Watching Mode these days, I of course stopped to investigate.

It was a slug, on top of the flower. How he got up there, or how long that took him, I’ll never know.

But he was heading for higher ground -- and who are we, to scoff at his sage advice??

1 comment:

  1. Glad you didn't have to dip into your emergency supplies. Love that photo of the hunkered-down bee, as well as the one of the slug heading for high ground. You always see the coolest stuff.