Wednesday, August 8, 2007


There was a storm last night. Or maybe it was this morning. It was a big one. A crash of thunder woke me up and I stumbled to Andrew's room to see if he was as scared as I was. He wasn't. He was sleeping.

He slept in until 8 and just as I was starting to worry, I mean he could have gotten struck by lightning, I heard him running for our bedroom for his morning hug. The storm had ended. The sun was out. All was well.

So I thought.

Dave headed out early (8:17, usually he leaves at 8:30). And then called. The trains were not running. Well some were, but not the ones out here. He needed a ride to the trains that were running. And so did everyone else in Brooklyn. We picked up a friend that lives near by and inched our way towards downtown. The folks on news radio told us all about the storm. The city is not running at its usual pace. Roads are flooded. Trains aren't working. Trees are down. The suggestion was made to just stay home. But in one hour we had already gotten 15 blocks into the commute. We have gone too far to turn back. Or so it seemed.

Rumor was spreading that a tornado touch down about 20 blocks from us. But don't tell my mom that.

Often the city makes me feel big. I know that sounds weird. But when I am smushed together with lots of people I feel like I need to fight for space. Parking space, space on the road, space by the produce stand. And all this fighting for space rears up in me this feeling of bigness. Of importance. And I don't always like that. Because with that bigness and importance comes selfishness. I lose sight of the big picture. It doesn't matter that 15 people need broccoli. It matters that I need broccoli.

The ocean makes me feel small. A forest makes me feel small. I like feeling small. I like who I am when I feel small. I don't like who I am when I feel big.

I guess this storm and it's ability to affect the city so much reminded me again of the contrast between nature and people. Nature made and people made. There is a lot I like about people made. There is a lot I like about the city. But what I find interesting is the effect of it all. Specifically the effect of nature on people.

It seemed like everyone felt a little smaller this morning. Even though we were all packed in on the roads heading downtown, a perfect recipe for the feeling of bigness to set in, it didn't. The storm drew people together. No horns honked. No one was trying to cut others off. Everyone was patiently working together to get where they needed to go. The strength of the city was present: the sense of community.

I am glad the storm came. I am glad for its effect.
It washed away impatience and importance.

At least for a little while.


Tara Whalen said...

I saw the news reports this morning and was wondering how it affected Dave's trip to work. Did he ever make it to work?

Thanks for updating us.

Glad you all are okay! I mean, if the trains flooded, that means your apartment flooded too. Right?
(Hi, Mom)

Loralee said...

I love how quickly people can bond together when it matters. It really is a beautiful thing to see that transformation and even to watch it carry over for a while longer.