I had a very vivid dream of Somhairle MacGill-Eain last night. He was correcting my Gàidhlig and gave me a stick of chalk! Then I found that I was crying, and he told me that tears are wasted poetry.
No one ever said covering a hurricane was glamorous. It often looks like fun on television. But sometimes it’s not. As numerous people echoed on Twitter and Facebook: “Hey Weather Channel, let the guy standing in the ocean during the hurricane go inside.”
The Weather Channel guy and the rest of us at The Comfort Inn in Nags Head fell asleep to the sound of rain dripping from the ceiling of our hotel rooms. The wind blew through the air conditioning units like the balcony door was open. A steady mist of water sprayed through the edge of the windows - which we duct taped to prevent shattered glass in case the wind ultimately triumphed. Downstairs in the room where the television crews established camp, the ceiling tiles began crumbling and falling into the buckets that couldn’t prevent the two inches of standing water on the floor….
To stay at the hotel, reporters had to sign waivers saying they expected their rooms to get wet and services to be interrupted. But it felt like the bunker - housing everyone from The Weather Channel and The New York Times to Discovery Channel’s storm chasers and National Geographic - wouldn’t survive the hurricane.
But none of this compares to what it was like gathering the story outside, along beaches, piers and sand-covered roadways amid the storm. At the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills, the wind shot the sand over the seawall strong enough to strip paint from a car. Going outside to interview onlookers felt like being buried in the sand with dunes accumulating in your ears. The rain made it impossible to write in a notebook and the wind made tape recorders sound like a television without a digital tuner. You had to gather news in clumps - racing to the shelter of a rental car to write down all you could remember before jumping back out to ask more questions….
But amid all the mayhem, beauty persisted as we watched sand blow across the beach like smoke and heard the wind gasp in between its big breaths. And there’s nothing like meeting the hardy souls who defy evacuation orders by wandering out to the beach, the piers or their front porches to watch the anger of the sky and the fury of the sea.” —It’s not glamorous to cover a hurricane | McClatchy (via dendroica)
‘Sestina’ - Elizabeth Bishop
September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,
It’s time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle’s small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac
on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.
But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.