Monday, August 29, 2005

Forces of Nature

I've got my television tuned to one of my favorite stations, the Weather Channel. As of right now, the meteorologists are giving live reports of the fury of Hurricane Katrina.

It's something that I'm all too familiar with.

For 24 years of my life, I lived in a coastal city in North Carolina. It was a beautiful place, although very hot during spring and summer, with lovely beaches only a few minutes out of town. It was also a major target for hurricane activity.

When I was a child, we didn't have to deal with too many hurricanes; the 1980s were relatively quiet when it came to tropical activity. The only major exceptions were Hurricanes Diana and Gloria, but the former fizzled out before hitting land and the other merely brushed the North Carolina coast. The sea change was ushered in during September 1989, when Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charleston, South Carolina. Our period of calm was over.

During the 1990s, the Cape Fear area was hit with many storms: Bertha, Fran, Bonnie, Charles, Floyd. Each time we suffered through downed power lines and wind damaged roofs. Each time we picked ourselves up and cleaned up the mess. I left North Carolina in 1999 and moved here in Wisconsin to be with my dear one, so I've not dealt with a tropical storm in five and a half years.

But that doesn't mean I've forgotten. I will never forget. The fear, the terror; it is still etched into my soul.

I watch the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina and remember. I remember the sound of tree branches snapping, of the roaring of the wind and the explosions of transformers. I remember loading my knapsack with canned food and batteries in preparation for the next major tropical storm. I remember biking down rows upon rows of houses, their windows boarded and taped.

I remember. I remember and I pray for those who live through the hurricane's fury.


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