Tag Archives: Hurricane Irene

Peaceful Morning

How did you fair through Hurricane Irene? Or Tropical Storm Irene.

Saturday afternoon, I became distressed – the catacombs are full of history and as-yet-discovered items, and my fear was that the storm surge would cause my subterranean river to seep through the sandbag and rock wall we’d constructed. So I began moving items to higher ground, which took hours. When I pulled a crate of old shaving kits (some relative must have been a traveling salesman) away from near the entrance to the grotto, I discovered an even larger crate, this one filled with Madagascarin Singing Sponges!

These sponges are about the size of a regulation American softball, yet they can absorb approximately 5 gallons of water each. When they absorb water, they sing! I carefully stuffed all the sponges into the sandbags, and even made a little pile around the edges of the sandbag wall. Exhausted and anxious, I shuttered the windows and sat in my library, hoping for sleep and waiting for the power to go out.

The Vivarium was nearly silent which is incredibly rare, but the birds had huddled into their wings waiting for the storm. Bubo sat vigilant on the back of my reading chair and the flivvervaats were emitting their slight cumin scent – a sure sign that they were petrified.

I must have drifted into a sleep, because I woke to singing around 4 am. At first it sounded like a hymn, but then I realized that it was Chains of Love by Erasure. In French AND Malagasy. Based on the fact that the singing wasn’t very loud, I reasoned that not all of the sponges had become wet, and so we were safe.

And then it was morning. The Kurundu Bird was singing its rain drop songs, and the flivvervaats were trilling from the cabinets. Bubo was outside in the garden and the air was gentle. The singing from the catacombs/grotto was much louder. Still Chains of Love in both languages.

We were lucky.

The name Irene comes from the ancient Greek eirene which means peace. I felt no eirene all yesterday, since the Singing Sponges were all fully saturated.

I had very little damage at the house. The garden was a bit of a mess but not terribly so. The creatures were all anxious and they made a bit of a mess of the laboratory, even from their cages and cases. But I cannot complain.

Now I am exhausted from the preparations and am relieved that the Singing Sponges have dried out and fallen silent. Erasure in French and Malagasy simultaneously must be some sort of torture. Though they did the job, so I will take the slight mental anguish.

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