Hurricane Ian is coming. Arrival is Wednesday mid-day. But the acolytes gather with candles & water containers after securing their outdoor possessions & wishing they had a stormproof garage. I gave in to fear for about ten minutes, firing up search engines to track the storm, reading emergency procedures. That wore out fast! There was no way to sustain that broadcast of pitched energy which fizzled like a spent July 4th sparkler.

I pushed right through that brilliant, antechamber into the Grand Ballroom of Joy. I brewed another cup of coffee & sat back, rearranging the pillows to get comfortable. I thought about the only other hurricane I remember personally back at the Jersey Shore, which left us with inches of mud in our ground-level triplex in Wildwood. I was a useless kid at the time, squishing around in it until Mom chased me outside. (I have one persistent flashback of my brother & I staring out the windows of the third floor apartment watching the storm surges from the bay & the ocean meeting in the parking lot next door – and our basement, as it turned out. I remember Mom returning from a meeting with the Monsignor of St. Ann’s that night, pushing against waist-high waves to get home, having left our Chevy on slightly upraised Central Avenue. After 12 years of expensive Catholic schooling, the entire senior class had been booted for attending a beer party & she was begging mercy from a stone-hard black-clad man. None was available as he’d already collected all the fees available from every family.)

For close to a month now I’ve taken a homeopathic called Hyland’s Calm Forte which sustained me cross-country & now in situations where my lovable heart decides to turn up the volume & gin itself up for some imaginary battle. Calm continues to hold me in a gentle state of blessing, bringing heart to parade rest rather than parade march.

At the market, people were pleasant & seemed comfortable while at the same time piling their carts with all manner of foods. Our kitchen counter has 5 ewers, 4 plant watering containers, a couple of jars & my contribution – an orange juice container. I’m working on emptying another one as I write.

There are no candles in town (I have a half-dozen flashlights to hand), no jugs of water (see kitchen note just above – and there’s the scrubbed tub.) I think of the Weather Channel as the mouthpiece for a particularly rabid band of atmospheric jihadi. I think of the emptying liquor racks at the market & figure Florida’s hurricane button is plumb worn out. I anticipate walls of water slashing the windows, sluicing the streets. I figure on winds playing havoc with untended tree limbs & all these beautiful palm trees bending & bowing to its force. But I’ve not experienced a hurricane in years & never here, where it makes a personal landfall in a fury of no longer passing over water.

I’ve said it before: I can be dead anywhere when the time comes to slip the skinsuit. My papers are in order; someone will find them. This identity is so unimportant in the Circle of Life – another will slip in to write & maintain contact with God-Central. Memories are short & life is not terminated with physical discontinuance. It’s a skip in the record, a bobble on the CD, a bubble in the tape. My life can come & go at any time because what matters is I lived it. That I take with. I made some laugh, others think, some cry. I was one more burst of sparkle in the fourth of July fire engine parade. It will fade – or not – as I continue on, hitchhiking Eternity.

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