(Second in an accidental series about weather…)

People around here have never recovered psychologically from the hurricane of ’38. And she was a doozy — hundreds killed, houses destroyed, damage that took years to repair. So now, with forecasting tools that let us know a hurricane is coming long before it’s even crossed the Tropic of Cancer, we tend to worry a long time before we need to. As is currently the case with Hurricane Danielle. Never mind that most storms lose their stuff and head out to the Atlantic about midway up the coast, either.

So just to put things into perspective, here’s a poem about hurricanes, and the kind of problems they don’t cause in these latitutes.

Problems with Hurricanes   by Victor Hernández Cruz

A campesino looked at the air
And told me:
With hurricanes it’s not the wind
or the noise or the water.
I’ll tell you he said:
it’s the mangoes, avocados
Green plantains and bananas
flying into town like projectiles.
How would your family
feel if they had to tell
The generations that you
got killed by a flying
Death by drowning has honor
If the wind picked you up
and slammed you
Against a mountain boulder
This would not carry shame
to suffer a mango smashing
Your skull
or a plantain hitting your
Temple at 70 miles per hour
is the ultimate disgrace.
The campesino takes off his hat—
As a sign of respect
toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don’t worry about the noise
Don’t worry about the water
Don’t worry about the wind—
If you are going out
beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful
sweet things.