But that was yesterday

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 5:00pm

Monday night I took Autumn to the door, my west-facing front door that is the only one I use, contrary to tradition. It is to an entry, a rather informal space that is as much a garden shed as anything. The storm door hasn’t opened properly in over ten years, since I came home after a trip away to find the little metal piece that belonged in the jamb, the hard rectangle that caught the latch, on the entry floor.

It stuck, as I recall, and I always surmised that the person feeding my dog pushed impatiently and wrenched it from the wood, which was splintered to the extent there was no purchase when I tried to affix it. A this-will-hold-it gerry-rigging lasted about a day and I decided it wasn’t that important, that outermost door is the first line of defense and I generally left it ajar, anyway, providing the dog a haven.

The first entry storm door opened outward, in the way of storm doors, but I am often reminded on stormy days, it caught in bad winds, and replacements have opened inward.

So, the other night, after a long afternoon and evening of stormy weather, of wind and rain and even lightning, I went to the door with the dog, intending to stand inside while she went out, onto the wet grass. It was late, the worse had passed and the rage of the last day of November had morphed into a mild if very breezy spring evening.

The air was filled with moisture, lingering drizzle and the clouds of salt mist that blow in off a storm sea. The light of the moon was not as bright as it had been the previous, clear night, that dizzying entity that somehow became a magical, mysterious being. It’s the moon, its pull is so great it moves the oceans, as we see every day living on an island, of course it impacts us with our water infused bodies.

Monday night, that white light was diffused, caught by all that moisture, and the world beyond my door, a yard edged with winter bare trees swaying in the wind, steps down from the last of the afternoon, had that look of a photograph printed in shades of silver. Yet there it was. All around us, the rush of the air, down from the alternatively howling and moaning of the afternoon, blending with the roar of the ocean, offering a near-certainty that the boats would be cancelled, again, Tuesday.

A year or two ago I stumbled upon a multi-layered weather site, windy.com, one hypnotic, with its kinetic graphics, distinguishing wind as well as temperature by color. Monday, the overlay of directional arrows shooting up over a couple thousand miles of open ocean displayed, again, why people with gauges on the far end of the island invariably have the highest readings, the ones I saw peaking at 75 to 78 miles an hour, a full ten more than the official reports on the news that credited us with “only” an anemic 65.

We flew past, in ascending order, breeze, wind, gale, and storm until “we” hit the bottom of the highest category of the Beaufort Scale, the 12th level, classified hurricane. It was, in fact, the last day of the hurricane season but there was no tropical storm attached so it was “hurricane force.” It’s the double square flag with a black center wind I still remember from a card my parents had by a window from which we could see the top of the signal tower at the Coast Guard Station at the cut. It seems impossible until I find an old photo from the yard showing the upper floor of the Hayes House on Bush Lot Hill which has not been visible from here for decades.

Even down Mansion Road, in what seems a hollow, one late gust was so strong the usually sleeping through anything dog awoke, startled. Then I remember there is a trough from the beach, the same that carries the sounds of summer in another season, and the roar of the ocean I had heard at night. There is also a wild wind tunnel under the right conditions.

It is December, the grass is green as it always is, surprising me, as it always does. Yesterday the sun shone and the wind blew and the standing water, rain collected in the swales, lessened, in places from pools to darkened ground.

Today, that great flock of geese, eschewing chevron flight for green grass, swarm over the front field but it is the sky, with rays of sunshine filtering through the broken clouds that catch my eye. There is, of course, another storm in the forecast but today the sun is putting up a good fight.