Into The Wild, And Out

Readers may be pleased to know that we did not in fact perish in this weekend’s storm, and are once again safely back in Gotham.

I will say, though, that it was quite a ride: the winds did indeed perform as expected, knocking down many trees, and by Saturday afternoon had blacked out the entire outer Cape from Eastham up through Truro. Saturday night was, I must say, rather a grim business, and a fine display of malevolent, elemental fury. (Mighty dark, too.) But our sturdy little house emerged unscathed.

By Sunday morning Noel had moved on, and the skies were clear. As it turned out, though, more peril lay in store.

Having promised the folks at my office some succulent Wellfleet oysters for our annual fall potluck, I made my way, as always, down to Indian Neck Beach, only to find that the usually bounteous tidal flats had been scoured clean.

Not to be denied, I went over to nearby Chipman’s Cove, which I had always heard was another good spot for the taking of shellfish, but had never visited. I decided to take a short cut on foot across the flats, and was making good progress toward the water when I blundered into a patch of mud that engulfed me to the knee. Planting my other foot to pull myself out, I managed only to drive myself deeper into the sulfurous muck. It took several worrisome minutes to extricate myself, during which uncertain interval my mind was troubled by images of petrified mastodons, saber-toothed tigers entombed in asphalt, Congressmen under indictment, and the like. When, with enormous exertions, I finally got to firmer ground — befouled with reeking sludge, and, frankly, a little shaken — I had lost all appetite for further oyster-hunting, and headed back to the car. Once there I stripped off my gumboots and outer layers of clothing, threw them in the trunk, and drove home in boxers and T-shirt.

For my troubles? Eight oysters. But that’s the way it goes, friends, when you tangle with Mother Nature; she’s still bound to win a round now and then.

We’re working on that.

  1. As to where oysters go in a storm, and how, with their Bohemian social arrangements, they organize their evacuation, I frame no hypotheses, but will note in passing that FEMA could take a few pointers from these modest creatures.


  1. That was touch and go … or, rather, touch and not go! I’m glad that you came unstuck and that the tide wasn’t coming in quickly.

    But look on the cheery side — it gave you something more to blog about!

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 1:03 am | Permalink
  2. Kevin Kim says

    Readers may be pleased to know that we did not in fact perish in this weekend’s storm, and are once again safely back in Gotham.

    Shit. My buddy’s going to be happy to hear that I now owe him two hundred bucks.


    Posted November 5, 2007 at 2:02 am | Permalink
  3. Right you are, Kevin. Pay up!

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 2:12 am | Permalink
  4. Charles says

    Glad to hear you made it out alive…

    (anything that costs Kevin two hundred smackers is a good thing in my book).

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 7:52 am | Permalink
  5. bob koepp says

    I think the technical term for what Malcolm has endured is ‘muck.’ It sucks.

    Storms are wonderful. However terrible, they are never malevolent.

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 6:24 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Thanks all! (Sorry to disappoint you, Kevin.)

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 7:00 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Hi Bob,

    Yes, as mentioned above, “sulfurous muck” it was.

    It’s interesting that you focus on that word “malevolent”. I dithered about it a bit — added it in a revision, took it out, put it back. You are right, and I should have left it out.

    It’s hard, when one is surrounded by such destructive power, not to see it as acting quite determinedly against one’s interests: property, physical comfort and safety, etc. And that innate human tendency is in plain view, for example, in the Odyssey, where the winds that blew Odysseus off course again and again were indeed sent with conscious and maleficent intent. But you’re right, of course: this storm bore no purpose, good or evil. And that I, who have railed against religious beliefs as wired-in agent-detection gone amok, still yielded to the temptation to impute a belligerent intentionality to a patch of bad weather just goes to show how deeply rooted these habits of mind are.

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
  8. I also stumbled over the word “malevolent” but quickly righted myself and decided not to contest it, for I rather enjoyed my trip over the geography of Malcolm’s residual inconsistency.

    At least, there are no hobgobblins haunting the landscape of Malcolm’s deeply skeptical mind…

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Just a little poetic license, fellas…

    Actually, I have as many hobgoblins in there as the next guy. They just irritate me more.

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  10. Those are just the ghosts in your machine…

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Yes, we’re pretty good ghost detectors. A little too good, even.

    Posted November 5, 2007 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  12. MikeZ says

    This may warrant a “Yikes!”, maybe two. I’ve gotten stuck like that. Not fun.

    We had Noel remnants inland up NH way, but not nearly as dramatic.

    Good to hear you’re alive and kicking!

    – M

    Posted November 6, 2007 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

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