Saturday, July 09, 2005

Calm Before The Storm

Pass Christian, Mississippi: Gulf of Mexico (photo by the daughter)
Click the picture to view larger image Posted by Picasa
". . . these are the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean's skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would not willingly remember, that this velvet paw but conceals a remorseless fang."
~ Herman Melville
A lone figure stands on the white sands of the Mississippi coast throwing bread crumbs to the ever present sea gulls. The ocean is calm, smooth, and serene. It is spring, still relatively cool for Mississippi and though clouds fill the sky they are loosely scattered and not the billowing black clouds of an approaching storm. It is quiet and peaceful with the gentle lapping sound of the water as it reaches the shore, no waves, no crashing or rolling surf. The occasional squawk of a passing gull or the splash from a diving pelican can be heard and in the low dunes insects buzz and chirrup.

Now it is July, a huge hurricane in bearing down on this coast. The ocean is boiling, waves crashing to the shore depositing masses of seaweed on the sand, the retreating waves pulling relentlessly at the beach taking sand out to sea. The skies are dark with rolling clouds, lightening and thunder off in the distance. The rain bands have already started crossing the coast although the storm is still a day away. The man is gone, hopefully safe inland, away from the coming storm. The beach and the town is quiet, windows boarded up, street lights taken down, garbage cans and lawn furniture secured; a ghost town waiting in silence for the storms fury.

I would like to be on that beach, now, to photograph the ocean waves, the darkened sky, the power of the wind on the sand and the blowing rain. A dangerous adventure, an adrenalin-pumped feeling of excitement with a mixture of fear, what an experience that would be!

But no. My sensible side takes over. I'm glad to be far away from this state and the storm. If I were there now, I would be like the man, alone and afraid.

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