The full moon is riding high, and the wind is picking up. Heat lightning flashes in the sky, but oddly not a drop of rain. I see the clouds build up and shift in moments, and I am reminded of the storms from my youth. I have been here before, and remember feeling that hum from the land in the eve of a mighty weather event. There is a vibration, as if the water in the ground is humming in response to the pressure of the impending storm. The energy crackles around me as the land sings in anticipation, calling the storm home. There is nothing like a hurricane to make one feel alive. Terrified, definitely, but with adrenaline pumping and the wind singing in one’s veins, you know that you are here and nowhere else.
Hurricane Irma is dancing in the Atlantic, kissing Hispanola, taking her time as she decides to twirl one way or the next. The state is in a panic, already the shelves are bare of water, wood, and fuel. Native Floridians know that it’s on when the roads are toll free, and the fees have been cancelled for the entire state. This storm spans the entire width of our bit of paradise, and the eye is a perfectly contained ring surrounded by winds last clocked around 185 mph. There is something so deadly and beautiful, hypnotic really, in the way she moves.
At this point, projections are futile. It is too early to tell where she will land, which makes a big difference in whether one chooses fight or flight. Nothing is worse that having a direct hit from a hurricane, unless of course it is traveling on the road as the storm shifts and follows one up the coast. Spaghetti maps are aptly named, as it literally is throwing spaghetti against a map and attempting to prognosticate from noodles. Science and experience inform us that this is not a drill, so the wisest sailors are battening down the hatches and preparing to sail if the tide turns.
I pulled some cards today to see how we would fare in Florida after the storm. I pulled Death, Four of Swords, and the Devil. I wanted more clarification, so I shuffled the cards rather well, and chose again. Same cards, same order. This is unusual, and has never happened for me. I have read for almost 20 years, so I figured it would be worth sharing. Also, I have been reminded by a friend that I seem to have a knack for predicting storms and other disasters from past performance. One of my many dubious talents I suppose. Or maybe just a side effect of growing up in Florida.
Conclusion: Buckle up. We are looking at massive devastation for the entire state. Evacuate if it is safe to do so. Hunker down if it is not, and be prepared for some unfriendly nonsense as we run out of resources. Death: Big change, inevitable change of circumstance. Financial loss. Beginning of a new era. Four of Swords: Retreat. Abandonment. Respite after upheaval. Devil: Ravage. Weird Experience. Shock. Temptation toward evil. Violence.
I respect the storm. I do not trivialize it by attempting to assign human meaning or feelings to this force of nature. She is not angry. She just is. Unpredictable, it takes the innocent and the twisted alike. Do not get caught up in the superstitious thinking that we are being punished or deserve this. Like a snake she coils and strikes, and is deadly and beautiful. Already I see the comments online linking blame or human events to the storm. My friends, I am Pagan and here to tell you that thinking is simply foolish hubris. The storms are bigger than us, older than us, and we will never understand them if we try to limit them to our own human fears and emotions. I am here and I can state that when I key into the energy of a perfect storm it is not Rage, but Joy that emanates. If a storm has a consciousness (and I think that they do, or at least personalities) it is not concerned with it’s effect on our lives and properties. Storms have no concept of punishment. She sings a song of Power, Freedom, Wind and Rain moving in perfect choreography to shake the land and make the sea Dance.
This raw energy is perfectly described in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. I suspect Irma will also inspire some fantastic writings and memoirs.
So what is a Pirate to do when faced with certain doom? Panic is for Jonahs, ignorance for the mad. My crew has chosen to batten down the hatches as best we can with what resources we have got, and prepare to sail if and when it is best to do so. Winds shift quickly in these waters, so being prepared is paramount. We cannot control the storm, and would be foolish to try. Parley is not an option, so the best thing is to laugh in the wind, and share in the joy of the moment. Every storm eventually subsides, and once we outrun it to find refuge in other safe havens, or find a way to shelter in port, it is important to remember that we can only control our reactions to the events. It is paramount to remember that we will be the ones to create the peace after the storm, and not to lose heart. Legends are born from adversity. We have songs to sing. Tales to tell. Libations to share.
Find your friends. Share your resources. Do not let the challenges divide us. There are opportunists and scalawags about, especially in the chaos of a storm. But there are also those of us that have sailed in turbulent waters before, our black hearts beating loud and fierce and free. We will be the ones rebuilding while singing terrible songs. We will ensure there is honor among thieves as we watch this play out in the months ahead. We are the ones who remember how to be civil in the midst of anarchy. Be safe my friends, we are in for some rough weather. Cheers!