I had high hopes that Hurricane Bill would come a little closer to Ocean Park, Maine, than is now likely. The day before I turned 10 years old, Hurricane Donna formed, and it ended up hitting the southern Maine coast pretty hard, as I remember. Of course this is where memory plays tricks. I have a clear scene in my head of running around the family cottage dodging streams of water falling from the second floor into buckets placed in the living room on the first floor. Did I make that up? Was my family really at the cottage for Hurricane Donna, or was it an earlier one? No matter. When I hear the word “hurricane,” some young part of me gets ready for the adventure of howling winds, tumult in the sea, sheets of rain, and all the grownups scurrying around with worried looks on their faces.
But wait a minute. I’m one of the grownups now, and nearly 49 years after Hurricane Donna I should be careful what sort of weather I hope for. Still. I won’t be disappointed if tonight I hear someone turn up the volume of the surf outside our window, and tomorrow I hope that first light will reveal an unnerving seascape of chaos.
A secret hope of my entire family is that Hurricane Bill will send rogue waves to haul away tons of sand in front of our place, because over the past decades the dune has been rising. Now from the dining room at the other cottage you can’t even see the beach, and from the table you can see just a thin sliver of sea visible between the dune grass and the sky. At this rate we can all imagine a beachfront cottage that has no view of the beach. That would be odd, but we’ll still hear what I’m listening to now — the endless slushing and rushing of the surf outside our bedroom windows. I sleep better here than in any bed I lay down in all year long. I wake up watching whatever the first sunlight does to the clouds from across Casco Bay near Prouts Neck. I remember things that may not have happened here, but I think they did, especially the ones I saw over and over when Dad would rent a projector so we could watch the Kodak home movies. In one classic scene, I pause before mounting my new, purple tricycle, taking the time to don a pair of shades, just like Elvis would.
For echoes of Hurricane Bill, I’ll have my iPhone poised tomorrow to upload photos and videos to my various storm homes on the Internet. Stay tuned!