You look across the blue cloudless sky. There’s a bit of heaviness in the air, as you’d expect for this time of year.
It’s a pretty blue, both deep and true sky. There’s just a whisper of a breeze. Not a relief from the heavy, but as you’d expect.
Something feels a little off. The hair on your arms becomes attentive. Maybe there’s a murmur of an echo of that broken ankle or a low drone in your right ear.
You shake it off but empty the overfull ashtray on the porch. You don’t put the ashtray back on the table in the middle of the porch. You put it on the shelf next to the house. You grab the rake and walk it back to the garage, picking up a few empty flower pots on the way. You stack them just inside the garage and put the rake up.
As you walk up the back porch steps, you realize that nobody picked up after that last party. There are beer caps on the table and an empty box that has a deflated bag of ice. Ice gone for months. You put the cover back on the Weber. You moved a chair and see an old crumpled napkin skip across the deck. Looks like the breeze is picking up and the color of the sky is getting deeper. You pull the red and white awning striped umbrella in the house.
Occasional big fat drops bomb the sidewalk and burst on the metal roof. It’s windy now and the sky darkens behind you. You run upstairs and pull the windows shut. Your fingers make sure the latches catch.
You step onto the front porch to welcome the monster storm and as the rain pounds you are sprayed. Flashes of light and crackles of thunder give way to sideways gale and the popcorn of hail.
You see the sky get that sickening color and close the door behind you. Crouch down in a safe place and listen as the freight train tears by above you. As you crawl out, you don’t know what to expect. You peep out to assess the damage. You pause. You’re okay. It’s a mess, but you’re okay. You begin to clean up and move along. It’s over except for the healing, and you beat that storm.
The weatherman tells you that the further you get from the disaster, the less likely it is to recur. It’s been two years, he said. Five is the magic number. See you in six months.
And this is where my analogy breaks down. It doesn’t totally work.
You are disquieted at the reminder that the danger is both random and maybe even brewing. After you leave, you find yourself scanning the sky again for the portent. You will carefully search the sky for the next few days and then, hopefully, right a few picture frames and plant some mint.