Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand;
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
Edna St. Vincent Millay,
“A Few Figs from Thistles”
Happy New Year!
So far it is exactly that for me, I can tell you.
Also, today is my seventh blogiversary - and never have I had occasion to celebrate either with such a bang.
We’re 24 hours into the Shark Week fund-raiser, and already the fund is well over the 10 grand mark.
I am not sure what I expected, exactly - as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve never done this before, and I was diffident enough about it that I couldn’t even imagine how to set a goal. So what that goal would have been, even in my most secretest of secret hearts I honestly don’t know. What I DO know is that it has been surpassed. Like nobody’s business. I could shut this thing down TODAY (not to worry, I won’t; just a thought experiment) and be completely thrilled with what it has achieved.
It is not news to me that knitters are generous and awesome. But it’s one thing to know that and to see it, and it’s quite another to be on the receiving end - or even to be the conduit to the real receiving end - and to experience the full blast of it.
I am not generally known for running short of words - you may have noticed this, yes? - but I have to tell you, I do NOT have the words for how this makes me feel. Thankful. Awed. Hugely moved. But those are just words, and they don’t begin to describe the emotional reality of this thing. The wonder.
“Thank you” is laughably inadequate.
So instead… let me tell you a little hurricane story. I have LOTS of them, and some of them are kind of funny, in a black humor sort of way. This one is not mine, though. It belongs to the previous generations of my family; it’s the hurricane story I grew up hearing all my life.
For most of the 1930s my grandparents had a summer house on Fire Island.
On the bright, sunny morning of September 21, 1938, my mother and uncle - aged 8 and 11, respectively - wandered down the beach past the bait shack. The little old man who ran the bait shack was tapping his nose and telling anyone who would listen “Big blow a-comin’ - I can smell it.” Nobody believed him.
A little later that day, my uncle was riding his bike on the boardwalk, and he fell and cut his chin. It was a nasty cut, and it needed stitches. This meant taking the ferry to the mainland and the nearest hospital. Since my grandmother was already packing up, getting ready to close the house for the season, she made the executive decision that the whole family might as well just load up and go.
So they piled onto the ferry.
Which later turned out to have been the last boat to leave the island before all hell broke loose.
By evening their house was gone, swept out to sea with many of its neighbors. Just gone.
To this day, the 1938 Hurricane remains one of the benchmarks for storm devastation - even to those of us who have seen and/or experienced the ravages of Katrina or Sandy, or any part of the fallout from same.
My uncle carried that scar on his chin to the end of his days, and no one in the family could ever forget what it stood for.
Just one of those freak pieces of dumb luck, you know? the kind of randomness that can determine whether or not the next generation will even exist.
Hurricanes. Life is weird.
And surviving is good.
And “thank you” still just does not even begin to cover it.