August 21, 2009


There is actual weather in Virginia. I watch the Weather Channel every morning when I get up (particularly given the whereabouts of Hurricane Bill). It has been over 95 degrees for the past 3 days, far into the evening. I left Santa Cruz a month ago, and it's hard to believe.

I made the right decision to come here, though that doesn't always guarantee that it will be easy, or perfect. I still get nervous at night, although not nearly so much as in the first few days by myself. I have started meeting people on Gumthicket Road, my neighbors. They are almost exclusively over sixty. They have lived here, or in Mathews, for their entire lives. My last name gives me some legitimacy. The last name White is prevalent enough in the Tidewater to warrant a whole area called "White's Neck." Maybe that's why I feel so comfortable here. It speaks to my family, the stories of my family--stories I have heard for my entire life.

In the evening I sit on the indoor porch and watch the thunderstorms blow up out on the horizon, clouds darkening and piling and suddenly sweeping in. A week ago I found myself hiding in a closet on the ground floor, the lightning flashing every few seconds and the thunder shaking the house so hard I thought the lightning had hit the roof more than once. It turned out to have hit the neighbors, blowing their A/C unit. There is no weather like that in Santa Cruz. I thought I was over-reacting, a true come-here move, until R.C. told me that it was the worst lightning he'd seen in years. He claims he saw balls of lightning bouncing across the field across the street from his house, on Old Ferry. The storm sat on the house for an hour, but I felt somehow that I had survived a rite of passage in its wake. I'm making Haley's White Bean and Sausage Soup for dinner and waiting for the clouds blowing up in the distance to arrive.

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