Friday, September 10, 2004

A Quiet Night

I'm sitting outside on the patio. It's a pretty night, clear with lots of stars, not too warm, a gentle breeze rustling the palms overhead. What I notice most, though, is the quiet. I haven't heard it this quiet here for a long time. Missing is the hum of many air conditioners, cars and scooters, people talking, traffic on Duval and Whitehead streets. These are the normal background noises of Key West, and they are notable in their absence. "The calm before the storm", our daughter Susan says on the phone from Austin. And she's right of course. Janet is thinking ahead to when (and if) the storm comes on shore here, remembering the description she's heard of the sound of a rushing train passing close by.

We watched planes landing and taking off on our journey about town earlier today. The airport was supposed to remain open until noon, but there were flights still landing later than that. I suppose that is mostly for outgoing passengers, but the planes have to get here to be able to take people out, don't they?

Many of the Conchs here in our neighborhood are staying, as they are accustomed to doing. We take some comfort in that. They are mostly positive and optimistic about the eventual outcome of this hurricane on Key West, as they have been for so many others in the past. Georges, September 21-28, 1998 was the last major storm to hit here. Then, the electricity stayed off for twelve days, and there were lines for food, water, ice and other necessities for most of that time. There was still debris from that storm when we moved here for the first time in January of 1999.

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