Today is the official first day of hurricane season. New Orleans folks receive that news like death row inmates learning that power has been restored to the main generators.
Yesterday I went sailing in Lake Ponchatrain with some friends and it was wonderful, a nice light breeze and a beautiful sunset that left me in a state of sublime serenity. Driving to where the Southern Yacht Club used to be (and sort of still is if you’re willing to call a trailer camp a yacht club I was shocked at how many boats are still strewn about the marina. When I arrived there was a camera crew with all kinds of fancy lighting equipment; I’m told Brian Williams of NBC was doing a feature on the arrival of the new hurricane season. I didn’t stop to gawk. I was eager to get on the boat and slip out to sea.
It was strange seeing the shoreline from the lake. As our boat was gliding across the calm waters, I couldn’t help thinking about how the lake helped destroy the city during Katrina. I also couldn’t help thinking how nice it was to be on the water, relaxing and having fun with friends. I’ve always loved being in or around the water. When I was a kid my dad had a boat that my brother and I spent countless summer hours skiing behind. We also used to go to Belize for a week every August to scuba dive in the emerald green waters near Ambergris Caye. At night the sky was blanketed with stars that seemed to sparkle in perfect rhythm with the lapping of the waves coming into shore. I really miss those days.
Most of all, though, I miss the days when people in New Orleans took hurricane season for granted. Apparently, our childish innocence has been replaced by wizened fear.