It’s hurricane seaason.
Every hurricane that threatens us brings memories of other storms. Some storms that thankfully passed us by, and others that hovered and wreaked hurricane havoc, storms whose names have spawned headlines and headaches, headstones and heartache, hardships and heroism. Katrina, Rita, Ike and Harvey, just to name a few from recent memory. Alicia and Allen (just a tropical storm, but a doozy for us), to go back a little further.
So many memories.
Speaking of memories, today is the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, as we hear everywhere on the news. I’m sure people who lived through Katrina’s wrath in Louisiana and Mississippi don’t need an external reminder of the fateful day. The Katrina anniversary and associated retrospectives are taking place while the people of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas are struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Laura’s unwelcome arrival Thursday morning. In Lake Charles, Louisiana and Orange, Texas, they will never forget Hurricane Laura, and August 27 will be the grim anniversary they celebrate.
I wish hurricanes were given names using nouns that aren’t associated with people. Hurricanes alter a pleasant association with a name, forever. For example, Laura has always been one of my favorite old movies. It’s a terrific, very fast-paced film noir thriller, but what makes it really special is that I watched it with my Dad.
The theme song from Laura is lovely. Johnny Mercer added lyrics to the haunting melody sometime after the film was released, and Frank Sinatra later recorded a beautiful version of it. Dad was a Sinatra fan, so this is another great association I have for the name Laura. Check out Mercer’s lyrics:
Laura Writer(s): David Raksin - Johnny Mercer Laura is the face in the misty light Footsteps that you hear down the hall The LAUGH that floats on a summer night That you can never quite recall And you see Laura on a train that is passing through Those eyes how familiar they seem She gave your very first kiss to you That was Laura but she's only a dream She gave your very first kiss to you That was Laura But she's only a dream
Laura is also the name of my cousin’s wife. She’s wonderful! I should just call her my cousin.
So now Laura becomes another name associated with a violent storm. I don’t like that. Why can’t we name hurricanes after various types of bacteria instead of using people names? Or colors? We could start with the 64 colors from the Crayon box, and then move into more obscure colors. Check out this list from the Crayola site:
- Blue Green (1958-present)
- Bluetiful (2017-present)
- Blue Violet (1958-present)
- Burnt Orange (1958-1994, 1996-2008, 2009-present)
- Burnt Sienna (1958-present)
- Cadet Blue
- Cornflower (1958-1994, 1996-2008, 2009-present)
- Carnation Pink
- Forest Green
- Grammy Smith Apple
- Green (1958-present)
- Green Yellow
- Indigo (1999-present)
- Lavender (1958-1994, 1996-present)
- Macaroni And Cheese
- Magenta (1958-present)
- Orange (1958-present)
- Orchid (1958-present)
- Olive Green
- Pacific Blue
- Potter Orange (2018-present)
- Purple Mountain’s Majesty
- Raw Sienna
- Red (1958-present)
- Red Orange
- Red Violet
- Robin’s Egg Blue
- Salmon (1958-present)
- Sea Green
- Sky Blue
- Spring Green
- Tan (1958-present)
- Tickle Me Pink
- Timberwolf (1994-present)
- Tumbleweed (1994-present)
- Turquoise (1958-present)
- Turquoise Blue
- Violet Red
- White (1958-present)
- Wild Strawberry
- Yellow (1958-present)
- Yellow Green
- Yellow Orange
I mean, the colors Wild Strawberry or Periwinkle might never be the same if it was a bad hurricane, but I’d rather ruin a color than a person’s name, wouldn’t you? Hurricane Burnt Sienna sounds apropos. Or Hurricane Violet Red.
But instead of impugning colors, maybe a better idea would be to use illnesses. Bad illnesses feel catastrophic already.
- Hurricane Hemophilia
- Hurricane Colorectal Cancer
- Hurricane Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
- Hurricane COVID-19. Now there’s a storm that violently slammed into our country, claiming nearly 180,000 souls (and counting), and, like a hurricane, spawning headlines and headaches, headstones and heartache, hardships and heroism (to quote myself from the second paragraph). We’re still in the middle of this catastrophic storm.
The Grill-Meister suggests naming storms after the periodic table:
- Hurricane Xenon
- Hurricane Carbon
- Hurricane Lead
- Hurricane Argon
- Hurricane Plutonium
I digress, I guess. But that’s really the point of this post; thinking of Katrina and Laura, I’m just musing about how hurricane season feels when you live 70 miles inland from the Gulf Coast in Texas, and also have a little bay camp even closer to the Gulf Coast in Mississippi.
The cover photo for this post was taken “one canal over” from Gumbo Cove in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, just a few hundred yards. There are remnants of the damage Katrina wrought everywhere in BSL and neighboring Waveland – stone steps without houses, chimney that rise as obelisks, rotting docks and boathouses like this one the only relics of what must have been a thriving waterfront home. I transformed another version of the picture to black and white, which I like better, although you can’t really tell what it is… maybe that’s the point of it. Hurricanes obliterate.
Even when the storm doesn’t hit you, you’re tensed up for the next one that just might. And feeling survivor’s guilt along with your empathy for the people in the storm’s path.
Growing up on the Gulf Coast, less than 200 yards from the seashore, tropical storms and hurricanes were the constant hum in the background every June through October. My birthday is September 10, and I can’t tell you how many birthday parties were cancelled or rescheduled because of tropical storms or hurricanes. A colleague/friend recently told me that September 10 is the most statistically likely day to have a storm during hurricane season. I laughed out loud when I heard that. I knew it! Not intellectually, but in my gut.
I have so many memories of evacuating from the beach as a child, staying at a motel in Beaumont or some other town that was also potentially in the storm’s path, and waking up to wonder if our house was still there. It always was, in those years, albeit with some damage, but Hurricane Ike finally took it in 2008, along with the rest of Gilchrist, Texas. Ike did a number on us here at Glover Gardens, too, 70 miles inland. That’s a story for another day.
Hurricane Katrina was an indirect prompt for the best thing I’ve ever written, my story of our Hurricane Rita evacuation, whose 15-year anniversary is in a few weeks. I re-read it the other day, and be darned if I didn’t make myself cry. Again. It’s a quiet and heartfelt true story of two friends dealing with a threatening storm – but it is about so much more. I leave you with it.
Wishing peace and healing to those dealing with memories and post-traumatic stress from storms past, and a quick recovery to all who were impacted by Laura, which we think should have been called Hurricane Lithium.
© 2020, Glover Gardens
12 thoughts on “Stormy Weather: Reflections and Musings on Hurricanes”
I like the idea of relearning the periodic table through hurricane names. Might help the homeschooling situation now. Thanks for thinking and creating and reminiscing.
Thank you, Lisa. My husband (The Grill-Meister) might have hit on something there with the periodic table suggestion. I visited your blog and found your Coca-Cola and peanuts post hilarious, as well as the title of your book.
Thank you for visiting Glover Gardens, and I hope you’ll follow…I just signed up for yours.
Thanks for the kind words and the follow. I’ll enjoy reading your posts.
I’ve read both your pieces – the Rita one predates our acquaintance! Very powerful and evocative of things we don’t have to face here, and also about your friendship with Theresa. What a sad loss.
Thank you, Anabel. Your comments are so affirming. Theresa was a powerhouse and her spirit lingers with us, in many, many ways.
Since I evacuated from both Katrina and Rita, I humbly suggest Hurricanes Prozac, Ambien, Tramadol, and Morphine.
LOL, that’s a great idea. And maybe also Hurricane Valium and Hurricane Xanax.
All kidding aside, I’m sure those memories will never, ever fade.
I’m about to reply to your son. He’s so damn formal. I think I’ll put on evening wear to write an email.
Respectful, maybe, rather than formal? He was raised that way.
You can break him down in about two minutes with a political observation.
At least he didn’t call me mister. I have no political observations except to say that if white supremacists come my way I shoot back.
Hello! This is my first visit to your great site. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to more 🙂
Thank you! I enjoyed visiting your site, as well. How could one argue with “A positive, gentle approach to life together”? We need more of that.