Wouldn’t want to lull anyone into thinking that life at the beach is boringly sultry and beguiling, the days a surefire succession of warm sand, tumbling white surf and postcard skies. No question there is a lot of that, but once in a while a passage of nasty weather clears the board of all that stereotype. Sometimes all the opposites come into play in one broad stroke.
Scenic prettiness went out with a whoosh late Wednesday afternoon with the arrival of a wet and windy fury. Thunderstorms of electrical brilliance and claps of thunder near enough to set balcony railings vibrating are powerful attention getters, and in the space of three minutes all signs of humanity vanished indoors. Sweeps of rain hit walkways like a hail of dampened firecrackers, their pops muted by the surrounding symphony of violent elements at play. The first threat of high wind sent a heavy teakwood chair scudding across the patio, flipping onto its back with a loud clatter. Figuring at first it was a large bird I saw something swoop from above, catch a gust and fly off to the beach where it landed with a crumpled thud. The bird turned out to be a table in flight from the fourth floor.
In howling wind three pool deck chairs took off in a hop-skip-jump into the deep end, while other outdoor furniture skittered around the pool deck like bumper cars in a carnival gone mad. Conditions on the oceanfront deck were no more stable and a long line of lounge chairs caught the wind and fell into a twisted tangle in the rope barrier separating sand and brick. A speck of red caught my eye, and there to the left my pet geranium floundered in a mini-tornado of wind and rain, beaten to a sodden droop. And out on the ocean waves, a smear of blue gray indifference, pelicans soared over the water unconcerned with the onshore tilt-a-whirl of lost equilibrium.
Another crackling bolt of lightning, a momentary pause, a boom of thunder and electrical power vanished. As coincidence would have it, the storm’s power immediately diminished as though connected to wires. It was a power outage lasting two hours but even now a day later the drizzle continues.
The picture here is of a fallen tree almost fifty miles from our flying tables and dancing chairs.