I know I use pictures of this tree too much, but it’s so pretty.

So I took a tiny vacation from technology for a few days. There wasn’t a particular reason, other than I got a little overwhelmed about people and things and priorities. It was a good little break. I feel better about where I am and where I’m going.

For Labor Day we ate drunk chicken and drank tea (because good Baptists only use beer for cooking? I don’t know, something like that. It’s been so long since I’ve been a good Baptist that I forget the rules). It rained a whole bunch and now they’re talking floodwaters again.

But the rain? What it did for the weather? This is my favorite, favorite time of year.

In fact I’m going to knit a scarf just because I can.

A Fitting Chill

It’s May in Mississippi.
It’s supposed to be sweltering and offensive. Sticky and thick.

Instead it’s crisp and brisk, and it feels sideways outside. Cities and homes close to our hearts are in danger of floodwaters, but here it’s like we’re stuck in some weird Novemberish limbo. Socks, jackets. Soup.

It’s not that I have some weird longing for floods or devastation. That’s not it at all.

It’s just that the temperature makes the whole setting feel wrong, twisted, and kind of forgotten, if that makes sense.

And I’ve had a weird few days. There are many things that will never be the same.

So in a way, although the weather is odd and crooked, I suppose it’s extremely apt.

The Calm


So, I mentioned in a post not long ago that I love storms.

I do. I watch and wait, and I’m always disappointed. I don’t know what it is I look for, or what would keep me from being disappointed. I don’t know where the line is that I would say, “Whoa, that’s too much.”

Well, I didn’t before yesterday.

It’s kind of shameful for me to admit, but I don’t think I’ve ever had reason to truly be afraid. Not of storms. I read Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses about “Oh laws, the storm’s a comin’, let’s take shelter!”

Maybe it’s because we never really did much in the way of storm safety at the Wilkes House while I was growing up. No one paid much attention, beyond the blinking warnings on the bottom of Full House or The Cosby Show, and storms were a part of life.

Maybe it’s because I have a weird adrenaline deficiency and I will probably take up extreme sports one day.

Either or.

Yesterday, after the storms that had swept through the South over the past few days, we piled into the car to go check on some friends we knew had taken some damage.

And you guys…damn.

Trees bigger than our car – snapped. Not uprooted, snapped.
A barn was ripped in half.
An adorable vintage VW Beetle had its top ripped off.
Houses with rooftops missing.

I grew up in the South and I’ve seen storm damage my whole life. Never has it been so real. I feel like I’ve been living in some sort of calloused, apathetic shell. I realized today that I’ve spent my lifetime gambling against these storms. I was never afraid because some sort of invincibility delusion has apparently secretly taken up residence in the dumbest regions of my brain.

We arrived at our friends’ house, where not only had five or six 200-year-old trees been felled, but the wind had driven a stake from the attic supports through the master bedroom ceiling – aimed directly at the head of the bed.

They kept saying how lucky they were, how things could have been so much worse.

And they could have. No one was hurt, and what a miracle.

I can’t say that I’m going to dread storms now, or that I won’t be still a little eager the next time there’s some warning…

But I can say that I have a newfound, healthy respect for what the weather can do. And maybe I won’t wait so long to camp out in the hallway.