I observed Sunday afternoon that Edouard’s time upon the stage would be short, and mercifully, his time was not only short, but also undistinguished as far as  making waves, literally as well as figuratively. The steady breeze and the cloud cover that Eduard threw toward my part of Southwest Louisiana actually provided welcome relief from the murderous heat and humidity of the past weekend.

Alas, but that all storms were so!

Sadly or gladly, his memory adds one more sigh of relief to our collective storm memory, which we always draw on for hope every time the warning flags are hoisted. We reason, based on experience, that “It more than likely won’t come this way” or “It probably won’t be that strong.”

Almost always, since the Atlantic Basin and Gulf of Mexico are big places with lots of coasts beyond our own for hurricanes to strike, one or the other of those wishes comes true.  But therein lies the problem: Sooner or later, and usually later than sooner, the Devil gets his due. And “later” is the dangerous part because we often luck out for so many years to the point that we feel this false sense of  charm, as in “It won’t happen here.”

Unfortunately, in my part of the Gulf Coast, we have names like Katrina and Rita branded into our memories as reminders that the storms don’t always go somewhere else, and sometimes they are too strong. Other folks along the Gulf Coast carry storm names in their memories, too. If you live down here long enough, in fact, the collected storm names kind of hang on your memory like  little charms on a bracelet–some are dainty and jingle cutely, others are grotesque and rattle with evil.  You can manipulate the charms, and much like rosary beads convey associations, each charm evokes some recollection of storms past.

Oh, well, the excitement is over for now.  I’ll revisit these thoughts and feelings the next time a storm looms on the distant foam, the next time the spaghetti strand models point this general direction, the next time the cone of uncertainty envelops my neighborhood.  It’s part of our culture down here.  So what else can we say?

Ah, perhaps this.  The words of a classic hymn come to mind:  “This is my Father’s world. / I rest me in the thought.”

Yep, that’s what we can say.  And that’ll do just fine.

PS: Thanks to Accuweather.com for the “farewell to Edouard” graphic at the top.

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