I live in central Maryland, about an hour and a half from the ocean as the crow flies, and in the general strike zone of most Atlantic coastal storms. Fortunately, prayers are being heard and Irene has been downgraded to a level one hurricane, meaning we are now outside the "danger zone." We are only in the nuisance zone--power outages, wind and rain.
We've picked up everything that could become projectiles, and we've tied down everything we feared would tip and break. We've got the generator fueled up and the fridge stocked, so now we relax.
It brings to mind a story recently shared by President Tingey, the president of the Washington D.C. Temple, and a former Member of the Seventy, titled, "I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows." In short, a young farm hand doesn't awaken from his sleep to answer the call of his employer when a coming storm threatens the farm. When the angry farmer checks the stock, the granary, and the equipment, he finds that all is in order, and he understands what the hand was trying to say--that when you've done your work to prepare, you can rest in confidence and ride it out in peace.
It's a theme that really resonated with me during my research for Free Men and Dreamers. I am awed by the diaries from Rose Hill Plantation when I read what that generation of people did to prepare, not for a weekend storm, or for a week without power, but for nine months until the next harvest came in.
I felt it in the accounts of the elections of 1824 and 1828, when political newcomer, Andrew Jackson, a man of the people, began challenging the last presidential candidate tutored under the Founders' influence--John Quincy Adams. Was the nation ready for such a leap of faith, from the wisdom of the Founders inspiration to a common man? Were her people committed to the Republic? Would they defend the Constitution, and was her Constitution strong enough to bear an untrained leader at her helm?
They wouldn't know if their preparations were sufficient until the storms came, and come they did.
These are the themes that drive volume five, the last volume of Free Men and Dreamers. You'll be reading a lot about it in the coming weeks as we prepare to launch. I hope you'll ask lots of questions. I love to talk about this book.
For not though, it's time to rest. Be safe.
Laurie LC Lewis