Walking in a Hurricane

June 24, 2008

I have lovely white crape-myrtles growing in my front yard. And right now they are in full bloom just like every summer. If you haven’t seen them before they are short bushy trees that are native to the south and the tiny white flowers grow in clusters. One of my favorite things about the flowers is that they get heavy when they are in full bloom and make the tree look like an umbrella of flowers. When you walk under them the individual flowers let go and land on your clothes and stick in your hair. I love it. It’s just such a simple and happy thing.

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I think everyone likes to tease their parents (everyone with a good parental relationship anyway.) As the oldest child I get to give mine a hard time about the ways that they were strict on me and then let up on my younger siblings. But I have to say that my favorite story to tell on them is the time they made me walk home in a hurricane.

It was the summer after I finished eighth grade and I was taking summer PE so that I could take an extra elective my freshman year. I think that it was about three weeks and we would get up and go at 8 and have classroom lessons until lunch and then after lunch we would have physical activity till it was time to go home at about three. My parents never took me to school (never is strong but we are talking about maybe 5 times ever.) So in middle school I walked home from school most days less than a mile with my friends, my cousin, and sometimes my sister and brother. So I continued to do that during summer PE but since it was the summer there was not even a bus option.

So one day we had a hurricane watch. It wasn’t close enough that they canceled summer school before we had to show up but they let us go home shortly after we arrived. So I called home to get a ride… I mean a hurricane was coming. And they told me “just walk home.” Just walk home?! I was so mad. Mad enough to huff and cry as I walked home in the rain that was beginning to fall. So I walked, I cried, and I stewed as the wind started to pick up. “I can’t believe they are making me walk home in a hurricane.” And that’s the end of the story that I tell but it’s not really the end.

About half way home something kind of magical happened. The rain had made the temperature drop to a pleasant seventy instead of the usual nineties and hundreds of a typical Florida summer day. And it was still just drizzling. I walked by some white crapemyrtles that were blooming like they do in the summer. The wind was blowing the whole trees and tiny white flowers were being let go in huge swirling clouds. It was indescribably beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it since; I had to be walking in a hurricane.

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