Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane

After a couple days of unusually hot and humid weather, now it is raining -- the remnants of Hurricane Katrina, they say. For us, nothing but a rainstorm. But I feel awed to realize that this really is the same storm system. The maps trace the path -- it arrives here right on schedule.

I've been very busy, and I don't have a TV, and so the reality of this hurricane has not been "in my face," like for others, until now, in this deceptively gentle way. I am very fortunate.

I pause to listen on the radio and look at articles and pictures on line, and I do so in prayer. What devastation! So many people's lives turned completely upside-down! And so many lives lost, as well: people who undoubtedly heard it was coming, but for whatever reasons, could not do what others did to protect themselves.

There is almost a chastising tone in some of the reports about those in the path of the storm who did not leave, but I cannot help but think: maybe they couldn't. Only those of us who are really fortunate in this world have the means and the wherewithal to up and leave when danger is coming. You need money; you need a place to go; you need a reliable means of transportation. Those with these privileges and advantages may sometimes take them for granted. But what if you are poor, and largely walk to where you need to go, or are disabled and dependent on others for transportation, and what if you and your family have lived there all your life? How do you even begin to decide where to go, much less how to get there? The decision to stay home in the face of danger is not really as irrational as it gets made out to be. It can be heroic, especially when those able to leave choose to remain close to those they care about who are unable to leave, as in the case of a woman I read about who chose to stay put with her elderly parents who could not leave.

Those of us who are lucky continue our lives as usual. But so many now have lost so much, and it will take a long time for them to piece their lives back together. My heart goes out to them.

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