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Posts Tagged ‘hurricane’

Hurricane Ida, Sept. 1, 2021, had devastating effects on many parts of this country, my state of New Jersey, my county, and my little town. From the flash flooding of our local creek and the 10″ of water that fell in 3-4 hours on already soaked land, our little downtown was under water up to a man’s waist.

I am deeply grateful that my house did not take on water, and after a few falters, the power stayed on. Friday, I wanted to take a walk and see what the Delaware looked like and how some small part of my little town had fared.

The day was bright and sunny, and everything looked as if there had never been a devastating storm barely over a day ago. Gardens were overflowing with perennials of every kind and looking lovely. Our area isn’t real big on formal landscaping, just filled with life. I felt relieved.

Through the trees, you could glimpse the river, a sunlit brown and green, rushing downstream.

Flowers and plants were in full bloom, edging quietly towards fall.

There was such a profusion of life; I could hardly imagine the destruction that I’d seen on the news of so many areas not that far from where I live.

A cover of stormy grey clouds provided a momentary canopy over the Delaware River. The water had reached 8′ above flood stage just the morning before, and even though receding, it had enveloped tree trunks all along its banks. And still, as always, it was stunning.

A shallow shoreline of stones where the tree roots were always visible, gone.

An abundance of sweet-smelling honeysuckle climbing over everything. With the brilliant blue sky behind, it seemed some sort of miracle.

Snowball hydrangea changing into their late summer green phase still evidenced some fresh white blooms, in denial of the coming fall, and the crisp, dry temperatures.

When these cataclysmic events happen, we can easily get overwhelmed with the news, with the images of destruction, knowing in our hearts how much people are suffering in the face of life-changing events … in some cases, the loss of loved ones. I didn’t go into town, not knowing what I might find. And what could I do? So I remained in gratitude for the safety with which I and most of my town had been graced. And tried to find the balance in beauty.

Hoping this finds you all safe and well.

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One of the things I observe and which warms my heart during and in the wake of cataclysmic events such as Hurricane Sandy, is the outpouring of support for those stricken with misfortune – our neighbors, our family and friends, and for total strangers. It seems there’s a little something everyone can do, and the more we hear, the more we come to know just how worse off many have it than ourselves.

We all can lend a hand and if needed, a shoulder, to someone in need. What makes me crazy is the media – do they focus on all the good people are doing for one another? No, instead they feature the fist fight at the local gas line. I can only say, shame on them. Show us the good stuff.

This country has come together again and again – to stand with one another in the face of tragedy right here – 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and other events, making us proud to be Americans. Even in the face of an election and across party lines – really, in the face of such sadness as the destruction we’ve just witnessed and lived through – who cares? It’s then that people care most about what counts … each other.

It’s sad that it sometimes takes tragedy for so many to put aside their differences, but in the end we do. We’re at our best and most human.

Today I had to make a call as one of my bills never arrived. The first question the representative asked, seeing where I lived, is how was I doing in the wake of the hurricane. Our humanness is what binds us and makes the world so much smaller. She was from a country whose capital was almost completely underwater in August due to excessive rains and flooding. We commiserated briefly before discussing the business at hand, and the world became yet smaller.

There are so many ways to help. Are you a writer or illustrator? You can help out and be helped in your craft as many authors, editors, agents are offering their time and expertise for a fee which will be donated to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Read more here.

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I looked out the window into the thick darkness, the only illumination a blue sensor light by my neighbor’s pond below. A thick cloud cover obscured even the idea of a star. I knelt on the Lane cedar chest that was my Mom’s hope chest, now vintage, I suppose, and was soon joined by my two cats. They purred amiably seeing as little in the dark as I did, but happy to join my watch. It was 4:30 a.m.

It’s never my intention to be up at this hour and it only happens on two occasions. One, Claude goes to down to the kitchen and begins caterwauling for whatever his reasons are, (and it’s never lack of food or water.) Or, two, I have something on my mind. This time it was the latter; I was contemplating the arrival of Sandy, the variously named hurricane, nor`easter, tropical storm that is working its way up the East coast, and the implications it may have on our lives.

10′ surges already pound the southern shore of my state, and landfall, wind speeds, rainfall are being ever more accurately predicted. It becomes apparent that we can choose to fill ourselves with the minutiae of every changing twist and turn of the storm or gather the information we need and return to our lives. Clearly, the latter offers a more calming result.

I was reading Mark Nepo this morning. I opened the book to where I’d last left off, and his daily reflection was perfect for today. He wrote, ” It can’t be helped. We return through different questions to the same central issue: How do we live fully? How do we live in such a way that the wonder of feeling outfuels the pain of breaking?”

Perhaps waiting for a storm, living through a storm, is exactly a return to that question. Shall we live the next few days in enjoyment, in fulfilling whatever tasks we have planned despite the rage of a storm or curl inward in fear and anxiety of what may be? Shall we try and believe in our strengths or succumb to unnecessary defeat? Shall we search for the wonder or break?

Twelve hours after the 4:30 a.m. vigil, there is one unavoidable conclusion: whatever Sandy brings, she brings. We’ve gotten everything in place that we can, and now we wait, knowing we can do no more. Is there still wonder in life? Yes … in every moment. The challenge, to hold on and believe.

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