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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hopeless victims to fate

Oct. 18, 1980

I don’t know why I’m out here, crouched along the riverside under trees I know can’t protect me from the oncoming storm.
I’ve become one of those fanatic joggers I used to mock for being out in every element, trudging through rain and snow with more determination than the mailman (or woman).
Across the way, huddled under a corner of the bridge, some young kids sit, drawn to the river to see the impact of what local forecasters are calling “the storm of the century,” to see if it lives up to the tales their parents and grandparents told of storms past.
The wind gusts stirs up old leaves from the wet earth and shakes new leaves from the tips of the trees. The slow water near my feet bears the burden of these bodies, multi-colored vagrants slowly sinking as the ducks and geese – unwise to have stayed north – float among them, seeking shelter among the roots of the stronger trees. The weak trees shake and fall especially the least rooted near the islands at the river’s center.
Many geese hide under the bridge’s dual arches, despite the gusts that rush through each. I see only hints of them in the dark, a white head here or a green back there, waiting with wonder of their own since  even they could not have seen such fury as this.
The small falls are fluffed up with froth as the water tumbles over the lip, the heavy flow dragging over objects too heavy previously, such as the shopping card and old tired that had stood like icons at the top for the whole summer.
But we have not seen the worst of the storm yet, getting mostly wind as the rain follows, rain filling up basins upstream so as to send this furious flow to us now. I am wet, but not soaked, and should take cover, but won’t, needing to feel this just as the kids across the river do, to have some story of my own to tell my grandkids when they face their own “storm of the century,” years from now – and wondering if my storm will live up to the storms I’ve heard of and if others after mine will compare to this.
A gull cries overhead, and I feel for him. He is tossed around in the wind as I am by time, both of us hopeless victims to our fate.

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