|June 2006 ~ Cameron, La.~ My Hurricane Rita Relief Team|
It’s 9:30 PM Monday, October 29, 2012 in Portland, Oregon and I can’t stop checking Hurricane Sandy coverage. It’s bringing up quite a few emotions.
I cried at the first image I saw of water flooding a street this afternoon. It was of a street outside a friend’s work studio in Brooklyn. It is seven years after the horrible hurricane season of 2005 and still I cry. Recovery is a slow sneaky process.
Weather is an equalizer. I’ve traveled through almost every state in this nation and I’ve noticed that we are all shockingly different. And while we are all different we are all equal. Many of us have a devastating weather story, or two, about the great ice storm, flood, mudslide, wildfire, blizzard, sand storm, tsunami, or hurricane. Every storm is super to the one who lost a love one, community, home or experienced some level of damage.
Weather happens. And it sucks. Flooding sucks. Wind damage sucks. Rebuilding is work and sweat and tears. I know. East Coast Residents, you have hours, days, months and years to come that will be filled with various levels of sadness and frustration from many sources, including insurance and FEMA. The good news is, the likelihood of any one claiming that you should abandon your particular neighborhood and not rebuild is slim to none. So you’ve got that going for you. That’s probably a tad snarky and unfortunately that snark is a direct result of what I learned from my two super storms: weather can bring out the worst in people, turning them into insensitive jerks who say and do mean, spiteful, uncompassionate things; sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.
But more importantly, I learned that weather can bring out the best in people. Thousands of volunteers helped out my small community, most of whom knew nothing about us. Humanity never ceases to amaze me. So, as I go to bed tonight, I hold you, East Coast folks, in my prayers. A handful of you I know by name and have shared many a laugh with. Most of you I know absolutely nothing about but, I want all of you to know that I am sorry this is happening to you. I want you to know that you are loved, even when it doesn’t feel like it. You are not forgotten, you are not abandoned. Your hurt is real and valid but it won’t last forever, I promise. Although, I can’t guarantee it won’t sneak attack you occasionally.