Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hurricane Gustav

Hurricane season in south Louisiana is always a time of nagging worry that weather patterns will align and a path will open up through the Gulf of Mexico, sending a storm of destruction that changes people’s lives. Hurricane Gustav in 2008 was one such storm.

Part One

Sunday night the outer wind/rain bands are moving inland. By early Monday morning the wind begins to gust at alarming speeds. Lose electricity at 10 AM and still the winds are building. Mid-afternoon it is downright scary. Thinking the brick fireplace down into the house is a strong point and because it is close the to walk-in kitchen pantry with walls all around, I sit on the raised edge of the hearth for long moments hearing and feeling the distinctive crack and ground-shaking thuds of falling trees, each time backing into the pantry doorway, waiting for a lull to venture back out into the house proper.

Peering out of rain-streaked window panes in the middle bedroom, the huge oak at the end of the driveway comes crashing down along Sevenoaks, taking all the poles and previously-dead power lines with it. Amazing how fast it comes down, earth-quaking up my 8" thick driveway into slabs as big as kitchen tables. Venturing to the large picture window in the kitchen, not standing too close because of the possibility of the glass exploding inward, here comes the large oak across the driveway, on the other side of my fence, crashing toward the house, top branches stopping two feet from the house, splitting the tall Bradford pear tree next to the koi pond, crushing plants and smaller trees and shattering lantern-like patio lights on supposedly immovable iron posts. And still all around the crack and ground-compressing whoomp of falling trees felt in the chest. Like standing next to a speaker at a rock concert, the vibrations like a cello bow being drawn across the ribs. And it goes on for hours and hours. The feeling of helplessness building endlessly with each minute, what it must feel like to be in the middle of a battle.

Two more trees from across the driveway come crashing down, one of them hitting the corner of the house, enough so it is being helpless in battle because the first thought is, I got hit that time. And it goes on and on.

1 comment:

  1. I love hanging out at 1051, love sitting around the koi pond, love looking out that big kitchen window…but not this time. Scary story indeed.