Now that we're hunkered down waiting for Hurricane Sandy to hit, the house is warm and the dogs are napping and the garden is green and soggy and gold. The kitchen doors frame the garden and though it looks pretty I'm glad to be on this side of it. No birds are singing so you get the sense of stillness, of the many eyes of birds and animals - peaking out from the greenery. When I went outside I could tell they were wondering why.
I was doing a final inspection, glad to note our neighbors' old silver maple was leaning away from our houses. Several years ago with Hurricane Isabel, a sixty foot tree just like it smashed through our roof. But this one will only smash a swing set if it falls - and that swing set hasn't been used for years, their son having outgrown it.
I'm going back inside, with the hum of the house and the napping dogs.
Rozzie texted from the UK. "I was at a party last night dressed as a wooly mammoth, and went to sleep at 4:30 so I slept in took a long bath and now I'm doing my hair."
We spoke on the phone and she told me the strange journey through the economy of her wooly mammoth dreads. She and her friend Emma made the costumes from horrible polyester trousers bought at Primark. As they were unfolding the trousers to inspect them, three people in the store were folding them back and neatly restacking them. Roz then bought a pair for 3 pounds, took them home and shredded them. It was cheaper than purchasing fabric.
They made the trunks out of a pair of baby's corduroy trousers, cut down the middle. That was a little disturbing. But they worked well as trunks in the end, and she could even put a straw through hers and drink. The tusks were made of paper.
Last time, when we were living in this house during Hurricane Isabel, and a tree smashed through our house, Rozzie was an undergraduate, the only one living away from home. Foolishly all four of the rest of us slept in the addition part of our house, the part made out of sticks. Before going to bed, Alex sat on a lawn chair in the middle of the garden, awed by the swaying trees. The following morning his lawn chair was flattened.
I woke up to the almighty crash in the middle of the night, and we went downstairs and tried to open the front door. We felt like Jack emerging at the top of the beanstalk, so crammed was the doorway with branches and leaves. Our neighbor Cy approached from his house with a flashlight. We spoke briefly, before realizing there was nothing we could do about it in the middle of the night. Then we went back to bed.
The uprooting of that tree coincided with our own uprooting. We'd be moving to Italy the following year. We lived with the uprooted tree, the sudden shock of it. We lived with the massive wall of tree root and the hole behind it, and with the friendly roof man, who covered our house in blue tarp and worked up there for months, rebuilding struts and tresses.
This time we promised Rozzie we'd sleep in the brick part of the house like wise little piggies. Which we did last night. I drifted off to the sound of rustling rain and dreamed of wooly mammoths.