We are preparing for a hurricane today. Nicole is expected to pass right over Bermuda tomorrow, and already the winds are picking up. There is a tumultuous energy around the island as people get ready to be assailed with up to 100mph winds, torrential rain, and storm surges. I’ve lived through a few hurricanes since moving to Bermuda and getting ready for one has become somewhat routine, but what is not routine is the unsettled anticipation of the storm. In many ways it is invigorating, that energy prevalent around us, both from people working to prepare and from the wind blowing the trees around and freshening the air.
Still, my enthusiasm for these storms has waned. During my first hurricane I was excited to experience it, wanted to photograph and document all aspects of it, but now I’m jaded, can’t wait for it to be over, anticipating the aftermath of recovery. I’m not looking forward to losing power for several days, taking away phone and Internet, not to mention water (it is pumped to our houses electrically).
In the days preceding such a storm, there’s a weird effect I experience that friends have told me they do as well. Focusing on anything but the hurricane becomes difficult, as if our minds are being scattered by the wind. I feel unsettled and disquieted.
Nonetheless, we must get ready for Nicole.
How do we prepare? We stock up on non-perishable foods. We make sure we have lots of drinking water. We fill our bathtubs and containers with water. We get our camp stoves out, and our candles and flashlights. We nail plywood over vulnerable windows and doors, or tape them, or latch down the storm shutters. We move everything from outside–patio furniture, plants, kayaks–to a safe place where the wind can’t pick them up and blow them about. We stock up on books to read, games to play, and wine. We charge up all our devices. We make sure our friends and neighbours are prepared and help them with anything that needs doing. The lucky ones with generators make sure they have enough fuel to power them.
And then we sit and wait and listen to the wind howl…
However, right now it’s a breezy morning — no hurricane yet — and I am going for a walk before I can’t any more.