All week, we waited for Hurricane Earl with mild apprehension. Should we haul the boats? How high would the winds be? For a while there was a tropical storm watch, then warnings of winds 30 to 40 miles per hour, then only 20 to 30.
Yesterday was leaden gray and calm, though the wind rose slightly during the day. Damian and I went swimming off the dock so that someday we could say we swam in the Atlantic the day the hurricane arrived. The water seemed a few degrees colder than it has been, but maybe we just thought so because the air was cooler.
By evening, a thick fog rolled in. Still no sign of seriously bad weather. Damian wanted to swim again at midnight, and because it's so nearly the last day of summer, I acquiesced. We stayed up as late as we could, he belatedly finishing summer reading homework, I reading The Big Sleep.
Maybe the book title affected me, but I couldn't make it to midnight, so at 11:15 we changed into clammy bathing suits and made our way down through utter darkness to the dock, where the automatic floodlights sprang on. It had been raining intermittently, and the dock was wet underfoot. The fog hung at a distance, blotting out the stars and draping the far shore in gauze. The tide was dead low, and the water so smooth it looked almost greasy.
One after the other, we took the jump, a long pitch into dark water. The water was pleasantly cool. As we climbed out, rain began to fall in large, vigorous drops that glittered in the floodlights. Wrapped in towels, Damian and I congratulated each other for being extremely cool.
Earl arrived just before dawn, a gray and weepy old man with no bluster left in him. Despite the drenching rain, the leaves are hardly fluttering on the trees. We'll be bailing boats. I don't know about a swim.