Saturday, August 26, 2017

`This Is No Joke'

As I write, Hurricane Harvey remains in the Gulf of Mexico, patient as a tumor, and the sky over Houston looks like dirty milk. Rain is light and intermittent. We are confident things will change soon. The two grocery stores I visited on the way to work on Friday had sold out their stocks of bottled water. I bought three cases of lemon-lime seltzer. The guy ahead of me in the check-out line was buying two shopping carts stacked with white wine. I worked half a day and talked only with grad students and custodians. Some people handle “uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Loss of power and an internet connection could happen at any time in the next several days. I’ll leave the final words to Jukes, the first mate in Conrad’s Typhoon:

“From the first stir of the air felt on his cheek the gale seemed to take upon itself the accumulated impetus of an avalanche. Heavy sprays enveloped the Nan-Shan from stem to stern, and instantly in the midst of her regular rolling she began to jerk and plunge as though she had gone mad with fright.

“Jukes thought, `This is no joke.’”

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