Rising at the crack of dawn, my husband kisses me goodbye before heading out the door to go fishing. I awake hours later with sunshine streaming through the windows.
It is the last weekend at the summer house before the unofficial end of summer, and it is blissful.
I have a long list of things to do: walk the beach slowly, look for sea glass, sit on a boulder, draw in the sand, watch the tidal flush in the estuary, read under the maple tree, stop and smell the flowers …
What a difference a year makes.
This morning Tropical Storm Isaac swept across Haiti and a hurricane warning is in effect for the west coast of Florida.
We know what they are going through.
A year ago on the day before the arrival of Hurricane Irene, my husband and I drove to Rhode Island with heavy hearts. We anchored our boat to the summer house, flipped the picnic table, and secured all my parents’ belongings. My mother left the place in tears.
Some of our neighbors had boarded up their windows, and most of the residents had evacuated.
When we drove away, we understood the very real possibility that upon our return everything might be gone: the beach house destroyed and our yard underwater.
Back at our Massachusetts’ home in the deep woods, we had other worries. Our house sits across from a pond and is surrounded by 100-foot pine trees.
My husband and I went to church on that Sunday morning while the wind whistled and the rain splattered the stained-glass windows.
Hurricane Irene was barreling up our coastline. God help us.
Back at home, we heard the sounds of the wind ripping through the woods, felling limbs and tossing them everywhere.
It wasn’t long before we learned that a tree had fallen on our next-door neighbor’s home shattering their skylight. A short way up the street, a massive tree had toppled taking with it all the power, cable and telephone lines.
I called my parents. The apple tree that had graced their front yard ever since they bought the property in 1947 had just split in half.
As soon as the tropical storm passed, my son drove to Tiverton. Unbelievably, the summer house had survived intact.
A year later, Irene’s fury is a distant memory. The Sakonnet River lightly taps the shore while gentle winds blow.
I look at my list – so much to do, so little time.