Good Night, Irene!

Last Saturday, their last morning on the Jersey shore, Lucy and her cousins got up early and walked to the beach to watch the sun rise over the ocean. She took these photos.

I have loved looking through Lucy’s photographs from the summer. The breathtaking views from mountaintops on hikes, the shots of wild lakes on canoe camping trips, the photos from around a leaping bonfire after sunset. I think of her as a vessel filled to the brim with beautiful images and experiences after her weeks away.

The shots from the beach are particularly poignant because I read yesterday that the governor of New Jersey was encouraging people to leave the seashore towns as Hurricane Irene barrels up the coast.

My dear friends Alison and Tom are away on their first vacation in over a decade. Each has been holding down two full-time jobs (Alison’s second job was an advanced degree in nursing) without complaint for years. It seems impossible that they would finally get a break and land directly in the path of a major hurricane, but it is true. Last Saturday they had driven thirteen hours to the Outer Banks off North Carolina.

Worried, I emailed all their addresses and yesterday I heard back from Tom that they were being ordered to evacuate. The Times reported that the highways were clogged with hundreds of thousands of cars struggling to get inland. Now today all the residents of Cape May County in New Jersey have similarly been ordered out.

As a child I spent a week every August at the home of my parents’ friends on the coast in Narragansett, Rhode Island. One of the rituals of summer was paging through a tattered book of black-and-white photographs of the Great Hurricane of 1938, which devastated New England and killed almost eight hundred people. The images and horror were burned into my brain at a very young age. Seventy-three years later, I am deeply grateful we have emergency weather warnings.

Over these next two days I will attempt to brush-hog more of the back acres. As I fight the machine I will be thinking of Alison, Tom, and my various internet “cow friends” in the path of the storm.

I pray they will all be safe.


2 Responses to Good Night, Irene!

  1. Elaine Murphy says:

    Hi Selden,
    You mention the hurricane of 1938, my father’s cousins were killed in that storm. Husband and pregnant wife were walking home from my grandmother’s house when a roof from a nearby building lifted and landed on them killing them both. It was a horrible accident due to the fury of that storm….

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Hi Elaine. That’s a terrible story. So many lives were lost… most of them in Rhode Island, but hundreds up and down the coast. A couple of years ago I read a good account of the unfolding storm called SUDDEN SEA: THE GREAT HURRICANE OF 1938, which told the backstories of many people and small towns. Fascinating and scary. I hope Irene doesn’t do any damage to your Maine house. xoxo

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