Monday, September 5, 2011

Hurricane Lee

Today might be a holiday, but a hurricane named Lee has put a damper on it. Here in the foothills between the South Mountains to the east and the Blue Ridge to the west, we are experiencing the first bands of what is ahead, not that I'm complaining. We need a little rain, as long as the wind stays light. So I'm inside, hunkered down in front of the computer, pulling out a manuscript that I've ignored for two years while I've done this more pressing Pilot Mountain project. A change of topics is most welcome on this dreary day.

Hurricanes bring out the best in people and the worst in nature. To the western North Carolina mountains, hundreds of miles from the Atlantic coast, a hurricane is definitely nature at its worst. Case in point, the 1940 unnamed hurricane that blasted through the Pilot Mountain area with its own brand of havoc.

I caught tales in my net about this 1940's storm. Mostly I caught flood stories, how the barn was washed away, how the cows and horses couldn't fight the current and gave in to be swept down stream, how the promising crops were covered with thick layers of killer muds and how the farmers' yearly income washed away in one fatal day. After seventy years, the memory still haunts:
  • They was so much water til it looked like an ocean to me. The field looked like you could go swimming in it. All the stuff washed away, an old barn we had there, the stuff we had in it, the straw, hay. Crops. Everything was gone. It got it all. School construction crew member, 1941-42
Will Hurricanes Lee, Irene, Katrina and other storms in the sisterhood be so imprinted into this generation's minds that a storycatcher seventy years from now can garnish memories that are as vivid as what I see this morning?

No doubt.

Catch of the day,


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