Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hurricane (Kris Delmhorst)

From Wikipedia: "The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1, 2007 and will last until November 30, 2007. Hurricane experts predict above-average activity (17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 5 of Category 3 or higher). The forecast indicates a 74% chance of at least one major hurricane striking the U.S. mainland, which includes a 50% chance of at least one major hurricane strike on the East Coast of the United States including the Florida peninsula and a 49% chance of at least one major hurricane strike on the Gulf Coast of the United States from the Florida Panhandle westward."

We were very lucky last year but, considering the frequency and intensity of 2004 and 2005, it was nice to have a bit of a break - we moved here in March 1992, 4 months before Hurricane Andrew made landfall and we've certainly learned our lesson over the years regarding early preparation... which reminds me that I need to go to the grocery store this weekend and stock up on storm supplies (canned foods, Pop-Tarts, bottled water... and E-Z-CheeZe, a family tradition... :-)

I wrote the poem below on 9/5/04, in anticipation of Hurricane Frances - the storm, downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2, made landfall on the Atlantic coast of Florida, near Stuart, on September 5, 2004 and moved across the state dropping up to 13 inches of rain. Frances made a second Florida landfall, as a tropical storm, at St. Marks on the Panhandle on September 8 - more than 2.8 million people were evacuated, damages were estimated at $9 billion and the storm killed at least 38 people.

SONG: Hurricane by Kris Delmhorst

BOOK: Florida's Hurricane History by Jay Barnes and Steve Lyons

POEM: Prayer to St. Margarita (Be Careful What You Wish For)
She began as a twinkle in my mother’s eye
As we floated in the pool one South Florida summer day
“What this backyard needs is a statue”
And we went on a quest

We bought this house from a former Chicagoan
He called the yard his Wrigley Field
Because of the high ficus hedges
Surrounding the property on three sides

Being a literary rather than a sports enthusiast,
I dubbed it my Alice in Wonderland backyard
I could envision a door hidden by the foliage
Leading to faraway lands and magical adventures

“What this backyard needs is a statue”
And the quest began
A mermaid? A fountain? A dolphin?
A goddess… not too big, not too little, just right

We loaded her into the back of the minivan
And coerced our men to position her… a little to the center, a little to the left, just right
Nestled amidst an island of greenery
She surveyed her new kingdom from a poolside vantage point

Her eyes were comforting yet mischievous
The pitcher in her left hand dispensing imaginary well water or alcoholic concoctions
So we hot-glue-gunned a plastic margarita glass to her right fist
And the goddess was canonized

She’s witnessed a decade of baby showers and bums-by-the-pool days
She’s overheard the confessions of sleepovers and midnight Jacuzzi soaks
She’s sworn to silence of teenage birthday parties and adult couplings
Always a knowing smile, always sealed lips, never a judgment

A heavy rainstorm once upset her equilibrium
The next day found her lower half reclined on the concrete
And her upper half immersed in six feet of water
Smashing her right arm into a useless appendage

Fearing she’d never live to see another tequila sunrise
We hoisted her from the depths and began the reconstruction
Resurrecting her like the phoenix or a time-worn quarrel
Re-igniting the dispassionate fire for a hopeful future

Patroness of blender drinks and village women,
falling-star viewings and moonlight skinnydips
We balance the storms on our horizons with the calm of an eye
Our vision is clouded by history, yet clear with love

St. Margarita, deliver us from normal and lead us not into stagnation…

QUOTE: "Some of us still get all weepy when we think about the Gaia Hypothesis, the idea that earth is a big furry goddess-creature who resembles everybody's mom in that she knows what's best for us. But if you look at the historical record—Krakatoa, Mt. Vesuvius, Hurricane Charley, poison ivy, and so forth down the ages—you have to ask yourself: Whose side is she on, anyway?" ~ Barbara Ehrenreich


  1. Wow live in the Bahamas took me back!

  2. Apologies for conjuring up those kinds of memories - nothing more helpless than being in a house in the midst of high winds and pounding rains and hoping like h*ll the roof stays put, eh? The terror is indescribable, as is the relief when the hurricane has passed and one can count one's blessings - I wish a minimal storm season for us both!

  3. I loved reading this poem again! :)