Through Hurricane Glasses

All these years spent riding the eye of the storm,
at the edge of the wind and the rain,
ahead of the weather, before it could form,
you’d think patterns would make themselves plain.

But the nature of the cyclone is spun from without;
subtle shifts in the slipstream can deceive.
You can read the cloud patterns, but there’s always doubt
that the nightfall’s what morning believes.

And the hurricane takes you to places unknown
that the points on the map do not show.
At the start of the season you’re out on your own,
for the doors are all boarded up closed

And the crux of the matter, at the cusp of the wind
where your sense of direction is confused,
is to not fight the current when you feel it begin
if you don’t want to end bent and bruised.

You start in the ocean, just a speck in the sky
building up size and momentum by the mile,
slipping under the radar for the first by and by,
then appearing at the curtain with style.

And the hurricane brings you to uncharted zones
that the guidebooks don’t often reveal.
At the height of the season, you’re there all alone,
for the levees and beaches have been sealed

It’s true, sooner or later, you burn out or make land
and the bluster slacks out of your sails,
ending up just some thunder on a few miles of sand
Filling gutters and storm drains and pails.

And a few busted windows, or a few flooded lawns
are the best you can manage to show
for the years riding shotgun, just carried along
at the edge of the winds as they blow.

And the hurricane’s dropped you so far from your home,
way beyond where the charts start to fade.
At the end of the season, you’re left all alone
with the wreckage that your trip has made.

09 SEP 2003

Maybe this one is about storms, but I doubt it. It’s more likely to be about those people around us who seem so wild and free, little caring about the effect the great maelstrom of their existence has on others – does the hurricane care about the shorelines it devastates, the paradises upon which it wreaks havoc, the homes it destroys? So like the hurricane are so many people, hurrying and hustling through their lives, bulls in china shops, leaving nothing but wanton destruction in their wakes. I’ve known a few. And I’ve often wondered about their purpose in my life — was it to discourage my attachment to mere material things, to a few precious valuables and so-called unbreakable commodities, and seek out things that the vicissitudes of this life cannot damage? Or was it to point out the very unstable potential of each of our natures, that finds expression only in random violence and senseless cruelty, and keep me from “riding that wind” myself, if only to provide a safe harbor for my own more landlocked dreams? Perhaps. I only know that I have longed to be a “storm rider” in the past, and surely have harnessed my share of lightening. Being burned is only half the story. As anyone who has spent a lot of time in the water will tell you, it’s not the current that ultimately gets you, it’s the exposure.

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