This is a new one for me.
I’m sitting in my apartment in Brooklyn, listening to the rain patter on my window A/C unit and watching the news. I just spent the past four hours or so watching racing from Saratoga. Before that, I took a walk and bought a few last-minute hurricane supplies from some of my neighborhood shops. Got a cup of coffee. Relaxed. Not my typical hurricane-prep.
Hurricanes in Florida always meant a great deal of turmoil and worry and second-guessing. How much feed should I stockpile in the living room? Is wrapping a note with my phone number and address onto a halter cheekpiece with clear packing tape enough, or should I braid luggage tags into the horses’ manes as well? Should I shut them out of the back pasture, so that if the fence fails they can’t end up in the neighbor’s yard? What if someone gets hit by flying pieces of house and barn?
It’s just terrifying.
In the novel I’m working on, an event rider faces the terrifying reality of keeping horses in Florida: a strong hurricane blowing through. I wrote all the questions and emotions that I remember from those days into my narrator’s life, and I have to admit, they’re all questions and emotions I hope I never face again.
Since we’re in New York, I’m seeing a lot of hurricane newbies who don’t know what to expect. To the horse people out there who are prepping for a hurricane for the first time, I’m thinking of you. Good luck to you. And there’s this:
The first time we were confronted with a landfalling hurricane as horse-owners, my mother asked the old cattleman who ran the boarding stable, “What’s going to happen with the horses?”
He laughed and said, “They’ll turn their butts to the wind and say ‘come on ol’ hurricane and blow, so’s I won’t need a bath this week!'”