Arrrr, thar's a squall comin in

So this is my obligatory “I survived Isabel” blog entry.

Isabel just kissed the Jersey Shore lightly, if with a bit of tongue.

I went out to the Brigantine north sea wall at about 5 PM, and the tide was high as I've ever seen it, ten or twelve foot waves and if the storm surge got much higher, we might have been looking at some flooding.

After my walk (the sand was blowing fairly fiercely and my windbreaker was like a sail) I stopped in at the Rod and Reel for a Yuengling and found a hurricane party in full swing. People were actually disappointed that the wind never really got over 40 MPH or so.

The most fascinating part of the storm was the behavior of the birds. I don't know if we're in migration season, but this morning, the sky was filled with hundreds of small black birds, for hours, flying in this crazy pattern, as if trying to skirt the tropical storm at its very edges.

Last night I saw a red fox wandering the middle of 11th Street North, as if he sensed that his dune dwelling was soon to become narrower for a while.

Kind of exciting, really, and glad to be on the edge of it rather than directly in its path.

Right now there are pretty fierce gusts, up to 60 MPH or so, but the worst has slipped by us. One of my classes is doing King Lear right now, and the storm has lent some vivid visuals to my imagining of the heath.

I kind of like a decent hurricane, er, tropical storm. I'm sure I'd feel differently if the sucker had knocked the house down or even flooded. We never even lost our power or internet access on the island.

High waves are beautiful, like those depicted in classical Japanese paintings, and concentric purplishgrey clouds swirling about are a sight to behold.

Something about the largess of a hurricane make it seem less threatening than the tornadoes of my midwestern youth. Big and blowy, it announces itself days in advance, while the twisters moved across the Plains like snipers.

I wonder why hurricanes are given women's names? Some fascinating use of language on the TV tonight. “Isabel has had her way with us” for instance. “Isabel eyes Cape Fear,” “Isabel took us for a wild ride,” and “Isabel is through with us now.”

Hard not to laugh at the newsfolk blown over as they stood out on the shores they told everyone else to get away from.

I love a decent storm.

And now back to our regularly scheduled lives.

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