January 5, 2007
It's raining like crazy this morning. I love days like this.
Jim Croce had a song called "Alabama Rain" tucked away in one of his albums. It was a lazy, somewhat romantic song, which sounded as if it were written by someone who had actually walked in the warm gentle rain of this region of earth; I always liked it. It was not until I lived in other climates that I discovered that rain is different, depending on where it occurs. In most places, rain is cold, hard water, cutting into one's face and any other body parts that are exposed to it. Here it has a friendly, Southern feel to it, and as long as you have towels about, nothing to worry much about. The television news has done what it can to demonize rain and to produce a general anxiety about it, but, as usual, if you look out your own window you can decide whether you have anything to fear.
I have been astonished at the reactions here to hurricanes. (I'll get to Katrina in a minute, but I'm talking about the general run-of-the-mill bad boy that hits this area a few times every summer.) When I grew up, hurricanes were something little kids looked forward to with great anticipation. We didn't have the sophisticated weather forecasting devices; in fact, we didn't even have television. Hurricanes were not identified by name until I was a teenager, they were not known even by categories, at least not by the general public. They were scary, indeed; but that was what made them fun. Nowadays, with all the the technology and all the advance prediction, all we get is a general atmosphere of fear, yet real provisions are not made for such catastrophes as Katrina.
But many newcomers left the area after Ivan hit year before last. Surely more moved away after Katrina. I had friends whom I would have thought knew better saying they couldn't take another hurricane season. I for one take with at least one grain of salt the reporters who stand in the storm, or stand in front of a map showing the projected path of the oncoming storm. These projections show at least five places the storm might hit -- and they start those predictions as much as two weeks in advance of landfall. Anyone raised in hurricane country knows this -- you never know where it's gonna hit. And, be sure of this, no matter how straight the path appears, the last hours before landfall are when the path will change. It'll wobble to one side or the other. Ask the Katrina victims of Mississippi.
Today's storm is mild in comparison. There was a line of thunder, which I heard in the night, and flashes of light that woke me up, but that has subsided and all there is now is a steady, gentle downpour. Nothing to go walking in, but lovely to listen to. And with the drought conditions we've had for the past months, welcome.