Renovation 4… Stormy Weather?

In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy churns off the coast of Florida on October 26, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. Sandy is expected to head up the East Coast this weekend and make a possible landfall anywhere from North Carolina to New England.

Hurricane Sandy so huge it will impact Ontario to the Maritimes, forecasters say

Forecasters have already started calling Hurricane Sandy a Frankenstorm.  While it’s too early to predict accurately, the latest computer models suggest powerful gusts and heavy downpours are on the way. Hurricane Sandy has already caused significant damage and at least 22 deaths in the Caribbean, but it is the potential of what this storm… a hurricane mixed with a nor’easter…  may become that has meteorologists describing this as a possible “Storm of the Century”.

In Canada, we are told, it’s too soon to call, but anyone from Windsor, Ontario to Windsor, Nova Scotia needs to pay attention to this forecast over the weekend.  In fact, some of Thursday’s forecast models suggested Sandy’s impact could be more significant in Southern Ontario than in Nova Scotia.

It has been a gloomy day in Hamilton, overcast, cold, blustery. Low pressure systems and extreme changes in weather trigger headaches for me. This has been a “headache day”.

The good news is that the new kitchen window arrived on schedule and has been lifted into position… a feat that was not easy but worked smoothly. The bad news is that the work crew left several hours ago… it is Friday afternoon, and will not return until Monday to finish securing and caulking it!

There is also a dumpster full to the brim with unsecured debris right beside the window.

Repeat after me… we will NOT have a severe storm with wind and driving rain from the east before Monday… we will NOT…

I am probably worrying in vain. I do it habitually and very well. The contractor and renovation crew have been terrific and I am sure everything will be fine. On the other hand…

Stormy weather reminds me of this poignant 1943 song by Lena Horne, and here are also two poems on the topic.


The Hurricane by William Cullen Bryant

Lord of the winds! I feel thee nigh,
I know thy breath in the burning sky!
And I wait, with a thrill in every vein,
For the coming of the hurricane!                                                                                                   And lo! on the wing of the heavy gales,
Through the boundless arch of heaven he sails;
Silent and slow, and terribly strong,
The mighty shadow is borne along,
Like the dark eternity to come;
While the world below, dismayed and dumb,
Through the calm of the thick hot atmosphere
Looks up at its gloomy folds with fear.                                                                                        They darken fast; and the golden blaze
Of the sun is quenched in the lurid haze,
And he sends through the shade a funeral ray—
A glare that is neither night nor day,
A beam that touches, with hues of death,
The clouds above and the earth beneath.
To its covert glides the silent bird,
While the hurricane’s distant voice is heard,
Uplifted among the mountains round,
And the forests hear and answer the sound.

He is come! he is come! do ye not behold
His ample robes on the wind unrolled?
Giant of air! we bid thee hail!—
How his gray skirts toss in the whirling gale;
How his huge and writhing arms are bent,
To clasp the zone of the firmament,
And fold at length, in their dark embrace,
From mountain to mountain the visible space.

Darker—still darker! the whirlwinds bear
The dust of the plains to the middle air:
And hark to the crashing, long and loud,
Of the chariot of God in the thunder-cloud!
You may trace its path by the flashes that start
From the rapid wheels where’er they dart,
As the fire-bolts leap to the world below,
And flood the skies with a lurid glow.

What roar is that?—’tis the rain that breaks
In torrents away from the airy lakes,
Heavily poured on the shuddering ground,
And shedding a nameless horror round.
Ah! well-known woods, and mountains, and skies,
With the very clouds!—ye are lost to my eyes.
I seek ye vainly, and see in your place
The shadowy tempest that sweeps through space,
A whirling ocean that fills the wall
Of the crystal heaven, and buries all.
And I, cut off from the world, remain
Alone with the terrible hurricane.

The Storm  by Theodore Roethke

Against the stone breakwater,
Only an ominous lapping,
While the wind whines overhead,
Coming down from the mountain,
Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
the lamp pole.

Where have the people gone?
There is one light on the mountain.

Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,
The waves not yet high, but even,
Coming closer and closer upon each other;
A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,
Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,
The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,
Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

A time to go home!–
And a child’s dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,
A cat runs from the wind as we do,
Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,
Where the heavy door unlocks,
And our breath comes more easy,–
Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over
The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating
The walls, the slatted windows, driving
The last watcher indoors, moving the card players closer
To their cards, their anisette.

We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
We wait; we listen.
The storm lulls off, then redoubles,
Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,
Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,
Flattening the limber carnations.

A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,
Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
The bulb goes on and off, weakly.
Water roars into the cistern.

We lie closer on the gritty pillow,
Breathing heavily, hoping–
For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,
The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,
The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,
And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

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2 Responses to Renovation 4… Stormy Weather?

  1. Oh dear – I think you’re probably in the middle of that storm by now. I hope your window held out.

    Out here in Nova Scotia, we have a “60% chance of drizzle”. Not much of a blow so far, although lots of rain is still forecast.,

    • motleydragon says:

      Hi again

      The dumpster was removed this morning, and the window is now thoroughly secured and caulked. The dry wall installation started this afternoon.

      We have been receiving wind warnings and preparation advice all day. Our house sits high… no danger of flooding, but we are right at the edge of the escarpment and exposed to the wind. The news is predicting power outages. Did you know that trees develop their root systems directionally, for protection against prevailing winds? These winds are coming from the opposite direction, and they are saying that even large trees, especially as they are still in full leaf, may simply be blown over!

      I just spoke to the president of the embroidery guild I attend in Guelph… they are considering cancelling tomorrow’s meeting and classes.

      The atmosphere feels really strange… we have had light but steady rain for three days, so that the ground is already saturated. It is headache weather!

      We will see what happens. The worst is supposed to arrive here within the next few hours.



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