The media makes it worse…
You know what’s coming. You hope for the best, and you are stocked with supplies in preparation.
Your gas tank is full.
You have plenty of drinking water.
You have plenty of hygiene water.
The windows are blocked off.
Your preparations are complete.
The power is still on so you tune into the TV and face the 24/7 media hype.
Are they right about the storm? Is it going to turn your way? Will it be as strong as they say?
Eventually you have to turn the channel to take your mind off it all, or just self-medicate yourself so you don’t collapse.
You try not to think of what is about to happen.
Outside the winds start. The rains get heavier. The power flickers. You prep and put flashlights in strategic locations so you will have them when the power goes out. Your cooler is filled with water. You put the ice cube bags you have been making all week in it and seal it up.
The final preparations are done.
You sit down to watch your TV diversion… and…. the power goes out.
IRMA is here…
The doubts start.
Am I doing the right thing riding it out at home? Honestly – at that point you don’t want to go out and find a shelter that may or may not have room for you.
Am I prepared enough? Did I forget anything?
The winds start to increase a bit. If you’re lucky like me and you are in a sturdy block building you really don’t hear the beginnings of it. That is, not until the wind gusts would knock you over.
So you tune into your battery powered radio to the local weather reporters – because they will at least give you the local scoop first.
And you hunker down.
Interesting phrase that. “Hunker down.”
It really says it all without saying a thing.
The weather reporters are calling off the wind speed gusts with gusto. “look, that’s a good one. It gusted to 80mph. yep that’s hurricane strength.” You don’t have to be told that, you are experiencing it first hand.
The wind and rains come in bands at first. One after another. Wind strength increasing with each passing minute.
Just when you think the winds couldn’t get any stronger, they do.
Then you start to hear the bangs, clangs and bumps that you are unsure where they are happening. Did it hit my car? Will my steps survive (being on the second floor)?
And worst, the wood cracking. Branches at first, larger trees later on. Huge cracking that reverberates in the wind.
You hope, you pray, you eventually doze off with the attitude “what will be will be.”
When you wake just a couple hours later, you pause and listen. Yes, it is still going on. You fall back asleep for another hour, (at this point it’s 3am) and wake again. This continues until daylight. Doze off, wake up.
Finally, It seems the winds are less now. The rain isn’t as strong. Must be on the other side of the hurricane.
Now the real cracking and banging and booming starts. You think there will be nothing left.
By that afternoon, the winds are light enough to open your front door and survey the immediate area.
Car looks fine, parts of the fence are down, a few trees have broken limbs, maybe it won’t be that bad.
You are so tired, both mentally and physically you have to sleep but can’t, knowing it is not gone.
Then finally the monster breathes its last breath and moves along. I put my weather boots on, carried a long wooden staff (who knows what’s out there) and my phone and review the area.
Massive oak trees, hundreds of years old have been pulled up by the roots, and crashed into other buildings or just lay across the road. Everyone is stunned. Everyone looks tired. Everyone’s nerves are shot.
You have just been through a major hurricane. You survived.
You check on your neighbors and make sure no one needs help, because no outsider could reach you with so much damage around.
In this situation, there are no colors, there is no hatred, there is no opinion other than what you all see.
Hope that recovery will be quick. Hope that people survive. Hope that things will be “normal” again soon.
Hope, what a wonderful thing.
All you hear around you is the whirr of chain saws and generators. Yes, people survived. Yes, they are starting to recover. You breathe a sigh of relief.
Once you are able to get out of your little area to survey the damage, you realize how very lucky you were. Driving around, you see power is nowhere. Houses have trees on top of them. Power lines are blowing around in the wind. Roads are blocked or taped off with police tape. To go one block takes 5 blocks. Yes, it’s pretty bad, but it could be worse.
You remain thankful that your damage is recoverable.
You end up with nerves stretched too thin. Kids in college think they have anxiety?? Try stepping outside after Mother Nature has put you through a blender for 20 hours.
Everyone has the “zombie” stare. The disbelief of what happened.
But slowly that starts to lift away also.
You start to become adjusted to the fact your life will never be the same. You will carry around this hurricane – by name – for the rest of your life.
When someone says Irma to me years in the future, I’m sure all the senses will return. The sounds, the smells, the fear.
Most don’t understand. I always hear “why do you live in Florida when they get hurricanes”?
I love Florida more than I hate hurricanes. Is there danger? Yes, but there is danger everywhere. You have to pick your danger based on your love.
To me, If I left Florida, it would feel like I cut a piece out of me. I would no longer be whole.
So Florida will survive, we will recover.
A Message For the Main Stream Media…
Thanks to our current president and administration we were better prepared than ever before.
I have a great amount of gratitude for our president.
When you have lived through what we have, and see how quickly help came, then you can whine and complain how bad the current administration is.
Until then.. keep your opinions to yourself.
They don’t matter to me.