The Arbor Vitae 2013

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Jean's Blog (Check out links to Guest Blogs in lefthand Column)

The Perfect Storm

October 31, 2012

Tags: Hurricane Sandy, Nature's excesses

The fury of Hurricane Sandy
So this is how it was, deep into the night as we listened to the raging monster hurling itself at our quaking windows from the challenged safety of our apartment building, electric lights still on, food in the refrigerator, bottles of water in a neat row on the kitchen window sill. We knew her name, Hurricane Sandy, joining forces with a cold front from Canada and some other stalled weather system, swollen by the tidal excesses of a full moon, surging over walls, into tunnels and basements, hurling houses off their foundations, whipping ancient trees out by their roots. Nature's unleashed fury reduced humanity's swollen ego to a speck, as we watched scenes of unimaginable devastation unfold on television, checking that the slow-burn candle was in place as lights flickered and somehow held, grateful that we could still hear the voices of our loved ones on the phone, that Nature 's excesses would sweep on past us and be gone - for now...
Somehow safety lost meaning. Strength was an illusion. With Sandy's departure came the chilling realization that when she willed it, Nature could blast us all into oblivion with one fierce breath. Of course, we always knew, subliminally, and doubtless the knowledge will again vanish deep into the collective psyche as we go about our self-important lives, certain that we are the ones in control.

Fall Reflections

October 8, 2012

Tags: Fall, melancholy

Fall vistas upstate
Outside my city window float memories of London long ago. How did so many years speed by since my student days? Youth is a superb state. I do not remember, then, seeing the weather as anything more or less than challenge or delight.
A mild rain drips everywhere out of a leaden sky today. I have become addicted to the bright blue skies, brisk chill and flamboyant vistas of glowing leaves of my many years here in New York. Wisps of cloud-fog creep over rooftops I can see from my terrace, casting a film of unwelcome melancholy into the day. This was always my favorite season, more bite and brilliance than spring, and definitely to be embraced over the excesses of winter and summer, bitter winds or heavy humidity endured in the deep canyons of Manhattan.
I find myself wondering what the weather is like in all the places where my children and grandchildren are busy living their lives. I wish them weather to float their dreams and to streak flame colors everywhere to illuminate their days.
Now, as I confront the reality of autumn inside and out, I lose myself in a miasma of memory, nostalgia and gloom. Geography has become a state of mind...
The weather channel promises better weather tomorrow. I'll wait this out with a good book.

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