Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Watch, Warning.

It was gray all day yesterday, but we started getting rain right about four o'clock, after I finally ended a lawn chair conference with a student, after I'd gone one more time around about how she should be using her voice, dammit and please, and not some lofty poetry voice, and she used a series of words like metacognitive that I don't very well understand, which was good, because in essence I was able to point at her, physically point, and say, That. Don't do that. Whatever that was. Don't do it.

OK, she said. And pretty soon after that it started raining.

It was worse in 27244 and surrounding environs than it was back here, back home, such that once there had been wind damage at the football stadium, the university found it proper to put up a red warning banner on the website warning us about warnings and watches. We were warned. Don't say they didn't warn us. Or tell us to watch. And that afternoon bout of wind was serious, good, efficient and over quickly, a few limbs down and then a nice long settling-in kind of rain, a rain for the flowering fruit trees which soon enough will have to start in on the show. Kids out on the quad playing in the puddles. Kids in hundred-dollar designer galoshes. One young woman walking towards the journalism building in a black cocktail dress and holding a TV camera tripod. No umbrella. Not in a hurry. It rained all evening.

And we got a second round, a stranger round, a more violent round, new thunderstorms barreling through well after dark. Some of the cells came across eastern Guilford and Alamance, through places like Whitsett and Sedalia and McCleansville, at 70 mph. We were driving home in that, though odd downbursts of hail and wind-driven rain and clumpings of lightning like I hadn't seen in a long time— not a lot of cloud-to-ground, but more than enough cloud-to-cloud pulsings to make me wonder about tornadoes, which made me remember that if and if, we'd want to pull the car over, get out, find a ditch. Stop, drop and roll. Or just stop and drop.

They lost roofs east of Elon. We came through it unscathed. The dog was none too pleased with me, but the yard's in good shape, and our roof is where we left it. The airport's reporting almost an inch and a half. Here we picked up one clean inch.

I was so relieved yesterday when it turned out my student was just misguided, and not untalented. She thought poems were supposed to hike up their pants, clear their throats, tell us something, and then tell us about how they'd told us that thing, and then go on and tell us still more about what it meant. The academy has harmed her. She wasn't aware, I don't think, that she could work towards the thing for the sake of the thing itself, that she could just show us what she felt was worthy of our attention and then try her level best to stand aside. But I'm kind of a city girl, she said. I don't think I could write about nature. Could I write about things that happen inside, instead? Cups of coffee? Or, how about if I just show the lovers in bed, but don't explain too much about it? Thank god, I said. Get out of here. I think it's getting ready to storm.

This morning we're scoured and cloudless, warm but not as warm. We are tilting, in a sure and certain way, out of winter. The lawns are just starting to green over. I love a good storm.

No comments: