Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Ophelia, Whither Goest Thou?
By DARRYL MANZER.
Published in The Signal, 9-18-2005.
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Darryl Manzer, 2005     With apology to William Shakespeare:

    There is a hurricane grows aslant the coast,
    That shows her hoar winds by rising waves;
    There with fantastic clouds did she come,
    Of thunder, lightening, and waterspouts...

    (Poorly paraphrased from Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 7)

    So the sister of Laertes (and a distant cousin of Katrina), one Miss Ophelia, is starting to move up the East Coast. So far she is but a small lady with minor fury. But then again, so once was her cousin, the Evil Katrina.
    I have the luggage out and am starting to pack for yet another trip to sunny (I hope for this trip) Southern California. Only, there is a slight apprehension in my packing. What if I go and Ophelia strengthens? What if I stay and she heads out to sea, and thus my trip was delayed without reason?
    Ophelia. What an appropriate name for this storm. Like her namesake who drifted around Hamlet, this storm is drifting around the Atlantic just off the East Coast. Seemingly without direction, she heads in every way.
    As I've said before, earthquakes are easier to take. No prelude or overture. Just a quick crescendo to violent shakes ... and then calm. But waiting on a hurricane, especially when waiting on one just after Katrina, is more nerve-wracking then ever.
    Thank God we still don't know how to predict earthquakes. Can you imagine what would happen if we could? "A 7.5 quake is expected to strike near Pasadena in the next 24 hours. Widespread damage throughout the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles is expected, also." Do you leave or do you stay? What if you leave and head north, only to have it hit near Gorman instead? Get the picture?
    I'm watching the Weather Channel as I pack. Ophelia seems to be moving north — not, east — no, er, northwest. She is one drifty lady, this one!
    OK. I'm packed. I'll get on the plane and fly to California anyway. Really. I can't stop Ophelia if I stay, and my leaving won't change her direction, either. What I do, has no effect on what a hurricane will do.
    The good Reverend Pat Robertson used to claim that his prayers kept many hurricanes away from Virginia. I've got a close relationship with my Creator, but my supplications have narrowed to me asking Him what His will is for me, that I may best serve others. Moving of hurricanes and mountains I leave to Him and to the forces He created. That said, I think I'll stay out of His way in both of those departments.
    So it is yet another trip to California. If the house is here when I return, all the better. I do hope Ophelia takes a right turn and heads off into the oblivion she would find in the colder Atlantic waters. Either way she turns, she will end like her namesake and..

    'Till her clouds and winds, heavy with the cold or land,
    Pull'd the poor wretch from her stormy lay,
    To her cold or muddy death.
    Laertes: "Alas, then, she is drown'd?"
    Queen Gertrude: "Drown'd, drown'd."

    I can only hope.
    I really enjoy getting a chance to fracture the work of Mr. Shakespeare. It seems that way back when at Placerita Junior High, I was "forced" to memorize the soliloquy to Ophelia. It has never left my memory. And the last two lines are real, just as he wrote them. Look it up. Dialog like that sure isn't being written today.

    Darryl Manzer lived in the Santa Clarita Valley oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s as a teenager. He now lives in Virginia.

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