By In essay

The Weight of Departure

I decided to swim in the storm.

After living in landlocked Seoul for four years, I refused to allow a measly tropical storm—the meteorological category right under hurricane—to ruin my weeklong vacation back home in Hawaii. Storm categories are determined by average sustained wind speed, and while tropical storms aren’t strong enough to peel roofs off houses, they do get names. This one in 2018 was assigned Olivia.

Officially, storms are named to clarify communication between scientists and everyone else, but the act of naming clarifies other things, too. Names become boundaries by which we see shape. Naming helps to make sense of powers unseen yet undeniably felt, forces like the wind that, until their inexorable exit, are in a perpetual state of arrival…

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