“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

9.01.2008

And now the rain cometh

There are a couple of busloads of Gustav evacuees a couple of buildings over from me.
First Baptist Church here in town.
It's a good place to stay - they have a playground that's outside but under cover.
Protected from the elements.
Sitting here at my desk, I can hear the kids playing & playing & shouting & playing
& having a great time.
If I walk outside, I can see a man sitting on a low wall outside the church, staring into space. Staring at this sky that's gone all gray & dusty, staring at this deserted downtown area.
Skirting the side of the playground I end up in their parking lot -
a few people are there, smoking & talking, a few more sitting nearer the building, each alone.
No groups of folks there.
Aloneness must be awfully hard to come by in such a place.

I'm too shy to talk to them - it feels too intrusive, too voyeuristic.
I have a camera with me, but no way would I ask permission to take a photo.
Would they say yes, I wonder?
Would they want something to remind them of this time,
when their memories will be constant reminders?
It occurs to me that I can never be a photographer of events - it feels so wrong.
I'm reminded of the Christmas I spent in Mexico City years ago,
seeing the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe -
people crawling on their knees to pray to the Virgin, some for miles.
Tourists taking their pictures - crowding into the church alongside them,
taking more pictures.
It was wrong.
I moved away as quickly as possible.

So I say nothing to these people -
I leave them to their thoughts & their cigarettes & the sound of the children's games.
I begin my walk back to here, using the back route,
and there on the asphalt, next to the entrance to the Prayer Garden,
someone has left a message.
Ok, it says. Okay, indeed.

The rain & wind are headed our way.
Warnings are everywhere -
prepare for floods, prepare for wind, prepare for no electricity,
no hot water, no this, no that.
Buy batteries, buy oil lanterns, top off your gas tank,
buy water, move your furniture to a higher floor.
I am exhausted from hearing it.
I live in a flood plain - I've been through high water before.
I want no more.
The ever-wonderful Michael thinks it's much ado about nothing,
it won't get this far inland.
Robert & Katie aren't worried, and they live right there
smack in the middle of the flood plain themselves.
Next door Rodney, however, thinks it's worth being concerned about.
I've done what I can, and now I'll wait. I'll watch the sky.
Clouds have moved in & the blue is gone, but no wind is here, no rain.
Just the threat.

But I remember that okay.
It puts my worries into such perspective.
I can only do what I can only do. It will be okay.

8 comments:

  1. I am thinking of you, honey...and the poor souls that are stranded in between as well. I have been keeping an eye on the weather down there. A longgggg e-mail will be coming soon. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow again...isn't it so strange too that this hurricane is hitting on the same weekend as Katrina did. I like your observations and what you have to say about the event. I know what you mean by the taking pictures part, and I am always so torn in those moments. There is a part of me that wants to record the event to tell the story through their eyes. Photographs can take an audience there. But, I never know how to do it without feeling so intrusive and invasive of their privacy. I've left many moments unrecorded as a result of not being able to resolve this conflict within me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was thinking of you today...wondering if you were in the path of the storm. I feel very much as you do...about intruding. I couldn't poke my camera in there either. I think it would feel to exploitive...and there's enough of that in the world already.

    And I so agree...you can only do what you can do...

    Sending you love...and wishes that you all stay warm, safe, and dry...
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm sending warm thoughts your way... I do hope that this storm doesn't wreak the same damage that katrina did. From what I've seen on the news, there appears to be better preparation this time around. Which is good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks to you all. We got LUCKY! I think all my worrying worked! LOL! We've got rain today - it started very early this a.m., but the storm moved north instead of northwest & we are at the very very VERY teeniest edge of it. So the rain is very light, and the Texas evacuees have the all-clear to head back home. There is still a possiblity we may get heavier showers later, but nothing bad is on the horizon. Here I will knock on wood, and here too I will send a prayer & thoughts out to those who ARE still dealing with this.

    Again, thanks to all!

    :) Debi

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so glad that everything and everyone was spared this time...what a relief. We just could not handle another disaster now.

    I understand your reluctance to photograph people. In some ways, I think photos help us deal with what is in front of us (as the person holding the camera) but intruding on someone else's privacy can never overtake that. There are so many photos I haven't taken, but wished I could have without making all parties uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tango - It's so true. I value MY privacy so much that I just can't imagine having none for a while - I just felt that they would like to have some time to not speak to anyone, to not be gawked at. So the pictures stay only in my head.

    Thanks.
    Debi

    ReplyDelete
  8. I feel terrible...I haven't been here in a while and everything I wanted to say to you has already been said! lol!
    But I am so glad you are safe and sound and that the weather has been good to you in this crazy year of hurricanes. I love storms, but hurricanes? Not so much!

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete

come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .