BLOG-Thinking About The Weather
- Published: September 10, 2017
This weekend we have been in the gardens about the house prepping beds and pulling out spent stalks.
As we work, my husband and I both check in with my father Tom in Florida as he describes his preparations for the monster storm threatening the gulf states. I listen to his plans—well thought out, measured—then dive back into the brambles doing my best to not be overwhelmed.
I’m sawing down the redbuds that established themselves in the center of the bramble. I can reach them now after first pulling out most of the dead prickly black raspberry shoots. I make enough room to pull in my gardening stool. I can sit and saw at the base of the invasives—two, no, three arching redbuds and one tall narrow native of unknown pedigree. I find the start of a darling little tulip tree that I have not the heart to remove just yet. I turn my attention instead to thinning out milk weed. I remove battered stalks barren of seed pods.
My husband is wrestling the landscape at the front of the house. There, four juniper bushes have grown dense and overlarge. One by one, each bush is stripped of its greenery as Jeremy begins the first stage of their removal.
Working among thorns, we take breaks. We come inside, grab a drink and a cellphone, and check the weather. Ohio’s weather is fair; our skies blue gray…puffed with clouds. Our attention is on Florida’s weather and the uncertain path of Hurricane Irma. We’ve been watching the storm since Tuesday, listening to our people’s plans as they consider their best options. The window to drive north closes quickly, so the decision to secure the house means family will hunker down and collect supplies for a powerless three or four days off grid.
We work as my father in Florida labors; his checkins every couple hours document his progress. Windows boarded. Glass panes covered. Electronics stripped out of the Florida room. The archway between the outer room and the kitchen is blocked with bookshelves, plywood, and an armoire. Food and water is stored up. Neighbors help. Friends converge.
We do our best to stay busy and positive. Weeding a neglected spot in the front garden bed, I think of my father. I wish my arms could hold him. I imagine my hands passing him hammer and nail. At 9pm, we talk with him one last time. The tropical storm winds have arrived. The power is out. “We’ve done all we can. We’re heading to bed,” He says. We send hugs. We say good night. We promise to sleep soon ourselves.
I stay awake though. I watch colored dots on maps move up and across the state. 11pm. Midnight. 1am. 2am. Burnt crimson dot. Fire red. Orange dot.
I stay watch. I hit refresh. I pray.