For context, our most recent truly terrible hurricane of the last decade was three years ago, and we were only in the front third of the alphabet when we named Harvey and Irma.
At the time of this writing, what had been known just hours ago as Tropical Depressions 13 and 14 just became Tropical Storms (TS) Laura and Marco, with expectations quite strong that before long at least one could get a promotion to Hurricane. (By the time you read this, we’ll know the answer to that uncertainty.) California is facing two of the most intense fires in recent history, on top of other fires already in progress, as they are barely into the start of what is fast becoming a year-round fire season, complicated by the remnants of Tropical Storm Genevieve threatening to drop off what’s left of her lightning bolts into more dry tinder.
We have adjusters deployed. Adjusters on standby. Adjusters who are not yet adjusters wanting to be trained to be adjusters. It is, in my business, our season. Our time to shine.
But it also means my inbox is full of alarm. A steady stream of sirens blaring about one event after another, some of which amount to something, some of which fizzle out to a fading chorus of much ado about nothing.
When we name these storms, it changes how we talk about them. We drop the “Hurricane” or “Tropical Storm” titles, engaging them on a first-name basis, as though we are talking about a friend, a co-worker, a troublesome family member.
As part of our Poet Laura initiative, we have encouraged our community to write poems about Lauras. After reading an inbox full of alerts about, in particular, TS Laura, I have this to say.
The Forecast of Laura
All the headlines in my inbox today are flashing
Laura needs to be watched
one says, misspelling extremely in its haste
to warn about her
(probable) rush into the Gulf.
I wanted to update you on Laura,
and say how concerned I am becoming.
The forecast of Laura is difficult, they say
(and we all agree)
while so many questions remain unanswered.
She is still pondering, it seems,
the areas of her exploration, eyeing
her sights possibly fixed
But where exactly Laura emerges
in the Gulf of Mexico
will tell us all
we need to know about what she thinks of
less exotic places:
She might even be considering Alabama.
All of them worry
They shouldn’t, really.
“Adjustments is more than a good novel; it is a fine novel. It is, simultaneously, moving and real and surprising and true. We see ourselves and our personal histories in Will Phillips, Joe Murphy, and Pearl Jenkins. Like Will, we bear scars. In Joe, Pearl, and Cameron, we experience offered hope. This is a story about what matters, and it’s told beautifully well.”
—Glynn Young, author of Dancing Priest
- Summer Break & Take Your Poet to Work Day - July 17, 2021
- Adjustments: A Belated Bicentenary Party for John Keats - March 4, 2021
- The Reindeer Chronicles Book Club: You’re Cutting a Tree in Almería and Getting a Storm in Dusseldorf - February 17, 2021