Here we go again…only this time I am watching from afar.
After the unlikely, and, at the time, unusually active hurricane season of 2004, the norm is not to be surprised by a hurricane, but rather to anticipate multiple hurricanes. I sit here and look at the map and projections of Ernesto, the latest storm, and I am amazed.
My amazement stems from the fact that I am not shocked, surprised, or any such emotions. In fact, I should feel nothing but relief. My recent move has taken me far out of hurricane-harm’s way. Instead, I feel the now familiar and newly usual emotions of fear, dread, resignation to the situation, and the first stirrings of planning: “where will we go, where will it go, what will we need, how long will we be without power this time, will it hit anyone but us?”
Orlando was in the cross-hairs of three hurricanes and one tropical storm between August and October in 2004. I think it was 1 hurricane about every 3 weeks that year, plus the whole “Crazy Ivan” thing (that one devastated the panhandle, went up through Georgia, out the Carolinas, did a loop and came back as a tropical storm and hit Orlando…just for good measure).
Last year we only had one brush…Wilma, at the end of the season and she merely graced us with lots of rain. Little or no wind. No fear of falling trees on houses. No fear of power outages. Just…more resignation.
But I guess what is truly amazing me is that here I sit, so far removed from it all, and still the impact of that first season is deep and far-reaching. I still shudder and slightly tremble from the uncertainty of it all. Post traumatic stress syndrome? Perhaps. And I am ashamed to admit that. I have never lost anything, anyone or been even slightly inconvenienced compared with those in south Florida, New Orleans, Alabama and Mississippi. I’m lucky.
But I’m still resigned. And not a little bit afraid.
Here we go again….