Throughout the week the news has been spreading around Virginia Beach about the impending arrival of hurricane Earl. I first heard about the storm from the friend who's couch I am currently residing on until I find a job and place of my own, daunting tasks both of them. He arrived home Monday and asked me if I had heard anything about the hurricane that was predicted to strike at the end of the week. I admitted I hadn't, as I was homebound though the day.
Since that moment I have been dutifully checking the size and projected path of Earl as it moves from the eastern rim of the Caribbean and makes its way up the Atlantic seaboard. To be honest, I really don't know what to expect. My only knowledge of hurricanes is what I have gleaned from years of news coverage and discovery channel specials.
Looking back at my time in Michigan I can't remember any truly severe weather striking. My biggest brush with the wrath of mother nature came when I was still just a few years old and a tornado swept through a part of Flint, MI just a couple miles from my house. It rained like hell, thunder crashed, and lightning lit up the sky like fireworks. When it was all over the family went out into the yard, a mist still hanging over the air as the trees shook off the last of the rainwater in the breeze. The sky was an unsettling shade of yellow. Tree branches littered the yard and street, and a power line lay over the sidewalk. Superficial damage, all of it.
Of course this is nothing compared to the power of a hurricane. Even the thunderstorms down in Virginia Beach are more violent and powerful than those back in Michigan. I've been caught in rain so bad that it seems like rain is being dumped from buckets rather than in drops. So thick I couldn't drive faster than 5 mph, and I couldn't see anything at that speed. I can't imagine what truly powerful storm could bring.
Being new to the area, I wonder how everyone else is preparing for the arrival of Earl late tonight. I see most people going about their business and wonder if the air of nonchalance they exude is due to some deeper understanding of hurricanes that comes from growing up on the Atlantic coast. Are they used to this? Have they seen it all before and know what to expect? "Earl? Thats nothing. I remember when..."
Who really knows? At the bar last night the TV's were tuned to the weather report, but nobody seemed to pay attention. A few drinks will do that I guess.
I have a tendency to get caught up thinking that everyone else is somehow clued in to some deeper truth about the world around them while I flail away struggling to find meaning and make sense of the events transpiring around me. Its probably more a symptom of how I deal with things than it is an overestimating everyone else. Regardless, I sometimes feel lost, surrounded by a sea of people who've all got maps.
So far, writing this blog in the lead up to the 2010 season has mirrored my careful watch over hurricane Earl. A lot of reading, theorizing, and rationalizing, but none of it will matter soon. Earl will roll past Virginia Beach and do what hurricanes do, and kickoff to the 2010 Michigan football season will happen Saturday afternoon and do what it does
render my and everyone else's predictions obsolete. Nobody really knows what the future has in store. All we can do is try to take what we've learned in the past and make good guesses about what's coming down the road.
As I sit here now I have the channel guide up on the television. Football is officially in the picture. The long off-season is about to come to a close. Now is the time to get answers from past recruiting classes. The time to clash with rivals. The time to learn what players are going to step into contributing roles, and who is going to make the leap from solid to superstar?
And just like the hurricane, football season will be gone before you know it. Soon it'll be December, and we will have put another twelve games behind us. Then bowl season will pass and we will be back to getting our football fix from off-season speculation and national signing day drama.
These fall Saturdays are sacred. Every one of them. So enjoy every minute of the season, because these moments are fleeting. Soon it will be another long cold off-season spent dreaming about tailgates, touchdowns, and rivalry games. Clinging to memories of seasons past.
The glorious victories.
And crushing defeats.
That is the beauty of this game that we love. Anything can happen. And when it does it will effect us deeply, burn into our memory, and then be gone again until the next fall.
So brace yourself for the storm.
I know I will.