I’m not thumbing my nose at Hurricane Irene, but I am still on Fire Island. #saltaire

The evacuation order has been given for Saturday morning; I’ll be well out of here by then.  Unless I get too spooked by the helicopters (there is one now clickety-clacking overhead right now), I will be on the 430p ferry today, Friday, and back in NYC by dinner time.

I remember two previous hurricanes threatening our vulnerable barrier island and NYC.  The first was around 1991.  My in-laws were with us in Saltaire, and it was complicated to move my father-in-law, so we decided to stay.  After the worst was over, and the house stopped vibrating, we walked to the beach, with live power lines snapping on the ground and in the trees, and photographed the beach attacking the thin rim of sand that still remained.  The island had been sawed in half just about a half mile west, and the Great South Bay and the ocean had the reunion that we all know is coming someday.

“You can’t outthink a hurricane,” admonished one elderly resident the following week, when everything was back to normal.  And I agreed.  And I still do!  But it is neither arrogant nor dangerous to stick to my plan last night, that I would spend the day here and get my work done.  Nuts, there is another helicopter.

The second hurricane was around 1995.  I could probably get the date on Google in a second.  I’ll undoubtedly be embarrassed about how far off I am with both dates.  The events are a lot clearer to me:  I was on the beach, just having too good a time with my young son.  Once the lifeguard announced that the evacuation order was imminent, I biked back with Peter behind me on his kiddie seat, both of us probably singing Good Day Sunshine at the top of our lungs for the three minute ride home.   My middle daughter was waiting for me, pacing anxiously, maybe angrily, on the wooden walkway.  She had heard the news and gone into action, and though she was probably about 10, she had already packed for herself and the rest of us, put away the rest of the bikes and locked the doors, and was standing in front of the house, all ready for us to depart.  That’s when I knew for sure that Caroline could galvanize an army and problem-solve rings around her mother and anyone else.  We were on the next ferry.

I’ll take pictures before I leave.  Maybe take a look around and bring some precious relics with me.  Like my Macbook Pro and the draft of my book!