As I write, Hurricane Irene is churning its way towards the East coast. Most of the places I love are threatened or will be under a hurricane warning by tomorrow. Assateague Island, Ocean City, the Outer Banks, even the family cottage on the Choptank River, all are threatened. My aunt works at a big box home improvement store in Virginia Beach; even though she lives inland, she's had a busy couple of days, not what she expected when she took the job in the garden department. My parents are travelling to Pennsylvania for a family reunion; I already told them that, if it looks like it might be bad, they are not to come home. I'm staying with the Mongrel Horde for the weekend, and to watch over the house. I'm worried; a lot of the neighborhoods right outside DC are old with very mature trees, and high wind and big trees don't mix. I lived in my mother's house (then my gramma's house) during Isabel in 2003, and it was very humbling, and we breathed a prayer that the large pine tree by the house would stay up. I'm going to pray extra hard that it does that this time.
One of the parts of my job as an flood insurance underwriter that I've had to accept is that my job exists because of hurricanes and the like. One of the ways I think we cope is to distance ourself from what they actually mean on a basic level. Because it's not us that are affected. But we might be this time . . . . I worry about the people who refuse to leave; the lady at Salty Yarns in Ocean City is not evacuating. I worry about the wild ponies and the deer on Assateague and Corolla, I know they have a bred-in sense and know where to go to stay safe, and I do think that the dense shrubbery helps them, but still, it troubles me.
One of my former boyfriends once said hurricanes are the price you pay for life on the coast. 364 days a year, it's beautiful. This weekend may be the days it's not.