Welcome back to the blog, friends. Wrote this a while back and just haven’t had the time or focus to get it together. Thanksgiving is behind us and I suppose the holiday craziness begins. (Seems like the media took off early with advertising for shoppers too.)
BUT: A short while before October 25, 2012, a wave is said to have risen off the coast of Africa. Meteorologists kept their eyes and computers fixed on its progression into a serious marine disturbance. Before long, a pretty horrid hurricane named Sandy tucked itself inside a nor’easter and hooked up with a full moon around high tide. The 900-or-so-mile-wide-monster took off, without a care or a hoot about the havoc it wreaked on pretty much anything in its path.
Following a windstorm that resulted in a light show where transformers in my area blew one after another–kind of like a domino formation going down–life in my neighborhood went dark. Power was out from Mon-Sat nights, but that was the worst of it for me and mine. (Tons of folks are still waiting.)
My area was then treated to a 4-6-inch dumping of snow ten days after Sandy, closing school a final day and subjecting all the utility workers to cold, wet, freezing conditions as they worked through the storm to restore power. Crazy. So, after an unheard of near two weeks closed, my school district resumed a normal schedule.
Normal. Life has a way of sliding back into its routine. It’s too easy though, to forget that too many others didn’t squeak by so easily. The media, in my area anyway, focuses on the devastation of NYC and NJ’s beloved coast, but Sandy’s wounds and scars-in-progress will stay long beyond the media’s coverage. I keep thinking about the folks in distress we don’t hear about that much (Staten Island, Haiti, Cuba, etc) and even those still recovering from earthquakes, tsunamis, brush fires–need I go on?
Sorry folks. The intro to my thoughts on my most recent awesome read somehow morphed into a follow-up to why the blog went dark for two weeks. Not only did I not have power or real internet access for a week, I couldn’t focus, feeling out of sorts, out of my routine; worrying about food and gas and people who were seriously lacking in hope, post-storm onslaught. When power was restored I wept. Actually, I sobbed.
On a recent Sunday (11/11) hubby wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful day. We got in the car and pointed it shoreward. One of our favorite stops—Sandy Hook—was completely closed off, so I finally got to visit the Twin Lights at Navesink (a very cool historic site). I wound up chatting with a woman I ran into twice on the grounds. Of course we talked about the storm and I mentioned something about Googling images of the flooding in other beach areas.
“Oh, but I don’t have power,” she told me, her voice sweet, calm and matter-of-fact. Turns out she rode out the hurricane at home. Like so many of us, she lost power and finally got nervous enough to evacuate when a pair of Marines (?) showed prior to the impending snowstorm ten days later.
She’d been in that shelter since and shared with me details the media might not think to mention. She was waiting for an inspector to decide if her home needs to be condemned. Her car was totaled due to flooding. Guess she wasn’t able to take her pets to the shelter (cats and beta fish) and is limited financially by how much she can get to them since a cab ride to her home costs $21 (I’m thinking that’s one way).
Flooding totaled her car and everyone’s in her neighborhood. There are (were?) two hundred people ahead of her for a car rental. A cab to her job—I forgot to ask about what type of work she does and where—is $75. (Again, I’m not sure if that is one way.) Mass transit would be a three-hour trip one way and she’s scheduled to start at 7 AM.
I wanted to keep talking with her, to listen to more of her story. (Had hubby not been waiting for me, I might have hung out longer.) Part of me wanted to ask for her phone number, to follow up on how she made out, but I felt weird doing so. When we took off in our own directions, she gave me a hug. I keep praying for her by name now and find myself getting very emotional as I write this.
From there, we wound up driving through a small, seaside community—The Highlands, I think. I took only this photo; didn’t have the heart to take more. (The community lost 1200 of its 1500 homes to tidal surges as high as seventeen feet.) Most of the small homes near the water had already been gutted and open to air. Like the images we were bombarded with on TV the first week or so, there were trucks parked nearby with supplies (i.e., water, toiletries, cleaning items, etc).
In a small park too, the community had gathered. A band played. Tents had been pitched and tables loaded with food during a Hope for the Highlands fundraiser. Hubby gave to the effort but we just didn’t feel right partaking. We’d not suffered the trauma these folks did. I did, however, feel tremendously inspired by the spirit I felt in that small span of park space.
So what is my point? For the sake of not waxing overlong I’ll end here and pick this up later this week.
Have a great day,