. . .
He dried his eyes.
For his spirit and will were waterproof.
from: Marvelous Cornelius Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
by Phil Bildner
illustrated by John Parra
My older daughter’s cancelled 21st birthday celebration revolved around a potential hurricane. Tropical storm Josephine did not develop into a hurricane, but sustained high winds and even higher gusts called for cancelling classes at Florida State. On her birthday. So no party that evening. As an adult, she took the disappointment in stride and celebrated the following weekend. As an adult, I told her to hide under something heavy and lock her doors.
Hurricane season is June 1 – November 30. A lot of damage can occur in that time frame. Each storm leaves devastation in its wake for miles and months. My husband and I have a very small place in Naples, about 2 miles inland. I’m expecting the worst.
But most of my thoughts are for the places I know so well, and the people who work there. The library and my favorite librarian. The city park. The zoo. The shops owned by local people. The local market and grocery stores. The little Italian restaurant that has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. All the people whose lives will need to be rebuilt and their homes and businesses that may or may not be. Year-round friends and friends who spend 6-8 months there. An aunt and uncle and several cousins in Tampa. All in Irma’s path.
My ties to Florida are long. Some are deep. I’ve been visiting for over 30 years. Marjory Kinnan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling) said: There is an affinity between people and places. I feel that affinity with South Florida. Although I don’t want to live in Florida, I love the pelicans, the egrets strutting on their long black legs and bright yellow feet, the sansevieria growing wild, the silhouette of a coconut palm waving good-night to me at sunset. The lapping waves, the wild beauty of The Everglades. The quiet beauty of the sunrise over the gulf. Warm sand. Warm, tropic breezes.
Mother Nature, do what you have to do. For whatever reasons you have or for no reason at all. But please, be kind to the people.