A Louisiana meteorologist recently posted this online, “Before y’all go yelling and screaming at me, be warned, the first projected numbers for the 2021 Hurricane Season come out tomorrow. I will share them, you will not like them, but we will all be nice to each other.”
As manly men go, I’m at least medium manly. But if there had been a camera on me, catching me react to those words – “2021 Hurricane Season” – it would have caught me flinching.
I write this in April, the month as pleasant as a new bride. The 2021 hurricane season officially begins June 1st. And no, we locals won’t be looking over our shoulders for a hurricane in June and July, but still, it’s the hurricane season following “The Hurricane Season”, and we, who went through it, we aren’t healed yet.
The Bully With The Big Winds
The words, “hurricane season,” fills us with dreadful what ifs.
We don’t trust nature like we used to. Nor should we. Delta, just weeks after Laura, picking on the same people, in the same place, nature earned our distrust.
So soon after last hurricane season, we’re still healing, and on the defensive, in our thinking, planning, living.
Back when I was a kid, I had my school squabbles, like boys do. Being a preacher’s kid, it’s quite the irony that I clocked a few cheeks, rather than turn mine.
But there was this one boy, who made me dread recess.
Wherever he was, I wasn’t. He made school smaller, and me smaller. If I could do it again, I’d walk right up to him and get it over with. With those types, all you got to do is show you’re willing. Pain now, freedom later.
That doesn’t work for hurricanes. Same feeling with the school bully, wherever it is, I don’t want to be there. But unlike the bully, the hurricane doesn’t care if I flee or fight. It just doesn’t care…
There’s not a person in the 706 zip codes that hasn’t asked themselves theoretical hurricane questions. Am I getting too old for this? If we get a big one every decade, is that something I want to deal with?
The questions that many have thought, rarely out loud, are, What if the next one was another Rita, or worse, another Laura? And what if it’s this year? Nature proved she doesn’t play fair, hammering us with Laura, and then coming right back with Hurricane Delta, just weeks later. No, Delta wasn’t a big deal, but it’s the principle of the thing. If nature doesn’t keep track of whose turn it is, any better than that, then she’s beyond trusting.
I’ve gone through many a hurricane season with not even a stout breeze. Stack a few together, you get lax, like a gambler on a streak.
But when the big hurricanes come, they make an impression.
Laura was the biggest, baddest, I’ve ever gone through. So, I forgive myself, for flinching, if the thought of a hurricane season makes me think ‘Here we go again…’
I’m nowhere near cleaned up from Laura. No telling how many people are living in limbo, still away, or downsized to something temporary, still blue roofed, too much damage, not enough contractors. Seems like just the other day, they found another could’ve-been-any-of-us, some elderly lady and her daughter, living in a car…
Claiming The Worthy Moment
I’m writing this in the cool of the evening. I’m on a porch, enjoying a just right breeze. I hear birds, somewhere, up high, and it pleases me.
I have to remind myself how far we’ve come from the ungodly ugliness, of just months ago. It’s spring, and I see green again. After Hurricane Laura, green might as well be the color of a miracle.
It’s calm. It’s quiet. I take neither for granted. This is a worthy moment. That I respect, and appreciate it, is because of Laura.
Whatever the 2021 hurricane forecast – and I assume we’re going to see the words “active hurricane season”, as in plural – I still have to decide how I am supposed to handle the gift of being alive tomorrow.
And the tomorrow after that…
The sure thing, is that I am home, in the Louisiana where I was planted, which I understand, and belong, not perfectly, but belong imperfectly enough.
Spring is a sure thing. We’ve got the rest of April, all of May, and most of June, to dine on spring like a hungry person at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Hurricane Laura was nature, mean and dangerous. This spring, I want to find the nature I used to know, soft, gentle, steady, dependable. I want to feel like nature is a friend, again, like it used to be.
I’ll aim for that tomorrow. And the day after. And the week after.
Somewhere down the calendar, there’ll be that day, when some meteorologist is going to speak the code words, “Tropical disturbance…”
Till then, even then, after then, what else can I do, but grab the gift of my life, and live it…
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Story is dedicated to the sure thing, the blessed right now.
To order copies of Uncle P’s Bedtime Story books, Volume I or Volume II, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.