Thursday, April 19, 2007

During and After the Storm

The Nor’easter is over. The flood had almost made waterfront property of the house where I'm living. We're talking a 10- to 15-foot difference in the usual sea level. A huge log of abandoned dock mooring had floated out onto Water Street and cruised on down like some bargain basement gondolier ride. It’s a good thing all the cars had been parked a block away on Sea Street due to the general alert issued by the city.

It's too bad I didn't have the stomach to walk out to the pier during the Nor’easter. It would have been deliciously tempestuous. The wind and the clouds were incessant, without the relief of lightning and thunder. Just that 60 mph wind ramming through the neighborhood and the entire coast. The trees made a wooshing sound that didn't quit. Longest avante garde wind symphony in history. The Sound School Regional Vocational Aquaculture Center got flooded. Their boat masts, docked opposite my house, are a whistling mechanism for the wind. The damn things screamed like banshees for 24 hours. The clanging of the lanyards on the masts added to the annoyance factor. And me without a car or frequent-enough buses to escape into downtown, away from shore by a couple miles. I holed up in my room and wrote and wrote and read some, and talked with my girlfriend on the phone.

Now: puddles and leaves and garbage everywhere. It is still heavily overcast but the wind has finally died down to about 15 mph, and the maddening drizzle is only intermittent. A few lone birds are back out flying around and sitting on their power lines. The whole world seems exhausted from the rain and the incessant wind. The sidewalk outside my door looks positively spent.

If I could remember everything about my life at every moment, it would be too much to bear. Please, one thing at a time. I have to step back from time to time and just walk out to the pier and get surrounded by water.

The sea level was all the way up to the boards. I could feel the waves thumping the bottom of the deck upon which I was standing and splashing up through the spaces between the planks. Water was lapping over the edges.

On my return walk from the pier, I spied my landlady's cat rolling around on the sidewalk outside my door. She is in heat (the cat, not my landlady) and had been missing for two days. Out getting some tail from the grey cat that I've seen around, no doubt. I took the opportunity to lure the skittish kitty towards the door with a bowl of the cat food I had bought for Squeak, the stray. I had to rattle the food around in one hand, tapping the plastic bowl on the steps, calling the kitty, holding the door open with the other hand.

Once inside, she had to actually be coaxed to approach her food and water dishes. As soon as she remembered she was starving she cleaned the bowl. Now she is meowing outside my bedroom door, begging to be let back out into the cold so she can find the gray cat. Poor dumb thing. Rolling around on the floor, rubbing its muzzle on everything.

Cats are insane. Sophisticated, yes, but also daft. Then you get a cat that's in heat, and they'll risk life and limb to get some sex. They'll lose their appetite and not eat for days. I remember when my childhood cat Mary would go into heat. The yowling and the sex starvation. Mary never got laid in her entire life. It's sad, really.

Now that high tide has come and gone, and low tide has reach its lowest point and started its climb, I can see all kinds of garbage washed up on the mud flats with their marshy weeds of bamboo proportions. Who knows what relics lie in wait for someone to discover them, or not discover them, in which case they might get washed back out to sea someday. Maybe I'll go hunting for archaeological finds tomorrow in the daylight. Tonight, I'm walking into town. The weather is still cold, overcast, drizzly, miserable and depressing, but it's at least navigable. I won't freeze.