Hurricane at the Farmers’ Market

pie and a flat white coffee. the pie is on a cute white plate with big black polka dots around the rim. The table is hammered metal. It was windy. Oh, and there's also a fork.

It was a morning with a warning. Like a movie foreshadowing a foreboding.

Like the hint of wind in the black and white frontspace of The Wizard of Oz. Or the first drips of water in The Last Wave. Or, actually, any time the wind appears in a Peter Weir film. See also, David Lean.

It’s the scene where the wind whips the shore, bends a field of wheat, or makes the hero chase after an important scrap of paper. The paper chased could be a photo of a child, the digits of a to-be relationship or the receipt from an encounter with a spouse that they wished they could take back. And this sub-story drives a key sub-plot. The one that preys on our wish for happy relationships.

This morning, at the farmers’ market, no vendor had a tent. Normally all normally do to protect from the midday sun or to provide respite from a shower. But not this morning. This morning the gusts of wind were like a Sherman tank mowing down anything, and everything, in its path. The covers were no cover against the nature force. The tents were folded next to the tables.

Tables, where the merchants were hovering over their wares with their entire bodies until the winds subsided. Tables where goods that were not sold by the heavy pound were placed on the ground to keep them from becoming projectiles. Tables where dollar bills fought to leave the fingers of either buyer or seller but not from the buyer to the seller. No. These monies were looking to ride the next gust to the next world. Wherever that would be.

The musicians playing in the plaza for tips were sad that their open instrument cases were venues for dollar bills to launch from versus the coffer for their patrons’ contributions. Little kids swaying to the music was nice, but it took someone willing to pay to show their value. They scrambled to find a container that wasn’t missile plastic, but were mostly were resigned to a sadly camouflaged urn that most people would not see as an invitation to financially thank the performers. But if anyone appreciated them enough to seek out the tip jar, the urn would keep and cash in line.

The winds were not consistent. They were sneaky. They would sometimes swirl around–causing strollers to roll and hair to obliterate the view. They would sometimes whisper, tickling edges of paper and lulling people at then end of  a hot summer to believe that there is a balance in the weather. And then it would hit the accelerator and lean on the horn to let everyone know that this is no mere breeze.

Because it’s not. It’s the front end, and will be the back end, of the remnants of a hurricane.

It’s the winds of change. The winds of winter. The winds of war. The warm winds of El Niño, and the butterfly wings that precursor a Camille, an Andrew, a Galveston and a Katrina.

And in the eye of that storm, people picked up tomatoes, drank coffee and ate pie. None of them knowing what would happen next.

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