Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Time to Get Back to Work"

Labor Day has passed and all the kids (well, nearly all) are back in school. August is just a memory, but a vivid one that will not soon be forgotten here in Central Virginia. The Great Dismal Swamp had a fire that burned for weeks, eventually consuming over 6,000 acres. When the wind shifted, here in Richmond some 80 miles to the west of the swamp, the air would grow hazy with a strong smell of smoke. Air quality advisories would come from the weather guys at Channel 12, and folks would wonder what hath nature wrought.  Then, on Tuesday, August 23, Janet and I went to the movie theater at Short Pump, Virginia,  to catch the final installment of the "Harry Potter" series. About 20 minutes into the movie, we heard that low, deep deep rumbling sound that movies love to put in to add suspense and impending doom. "How odd!" I thought, that they would choose to put it in at at time when Harry, Ron and Hermione were just talking. But then my seat began to vibrate, then shake. And then the floor began to roll a bit, and up on the screen, Harry and the gang were shaking up and down so violently, I thought the young wizard's spectacles were going to fly off his face. At which point, the theater ceiling and walls began to creak louder and louder. "WOW!" This movie was in 4D! . . . Anyhow, after a half minute or so, it was all over. Cell phones began going off (good thing we didn't pay attention to that admonishment on the screen prior to the movie) as worried family and friends called to check on loved ones. We were okay, of course, and enjoyed the remainder of the movie (which was pretty darn good, I must say)! For those unfamiliar with Short Pump, it is about ten miles northwest of Richmond, and only 25 miles or so from Mineral, the epicenter of the quake. Aftershocks came for several days, and seemed to end just in time for us to turn our attention to the arrival of Hurricane Irene. Lots of damage in our area, with thousands of trees and power lines down. We lost our power for four and a half days, but thankfully, a generator kept the refrigerators humming, as well as lights burning, a fan turning, and my coffeemaker brewing.  Meanwhile, even though the swamp got over ten inches of rain, the fires are still smoldering deep down below the surface. It's like some kind of evil, dark magic from "He who must not be named." I think I'm ready for a really big snow!