Standing within the calm eye of Hurricane Audrey on June 27,1957, the tall trees to the north bending westward with the 125 mph winds, and those to the south bending eastward, I looked up to see small white clouds floating peacefully in a clear blue sky, while all around me lay branches of our pecan trees torn loose and cast to the ground by the relentless winds. I was in the center of the storm where only a calm breeze brushed my face. As the eye moved on northward, the powerful winds returned and, fearlessly, I leaned into them at a near thirty degree angle. It was such an exhilarating experience yielding my body into this awesome force of Nature while remaining present and untouched by fear or worry. A line from a poem I wrote some years ago, “This Angel’s Tree,” comes to mind: “But, best of all, this tree so tall, gave he a spirit wise, that it would know, when winds do blow, to bend and when to rise.”
We evacuated for Hurricane Laura as it roared toward our home town a week ago yesterday as a category 4 storm wielding high velocity winds of 150-175 mph. The destruction to our city is devastating. Tall and massive trees are uprooted while those still standing are stripped of their leaves and many branches. Debris from ravaged buildings fills streets where fallen utility poles were brought down by wind-swung heavy cables. Our sweet wood-frame home with roof shingles blown off, its solid structure intact, was wet inside with ceiling tiles on the floor and furniture. All our trees, including a tall cedar, lay westward on the ground crushing fences and gardens. Only an old Magnolia tree remained standing in the front yard stripped of its leaves and a number of its limbs.
Recovery looms large before us as a daunting task, to say the least. This isn’t our first hurricane to recover from. Fifteen years ago we returned from our vacation in Oregon to restore our storm-damaged home and yard in the wake of Hurricane Rita, a category 3 storm, which hit the Louisiana-Texas coast one month after Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city and population of New Orleans, killing 2000 people and leaving 100-billion dollars in damages in its wake. There were just over a dozen deaths during this hurricane and only 100 in Rita, which did 12-billion dollars in damage. The final cost of this storm is yet to be tabulated.
We were not in the eye of Laura, but we are in the middle of the chaos and confusion left in its wake. By the grace of God, we find ourselves present in the calm center of it all taking care of what presents itself in each moment for right handling. As my wife put it a few days ago, our angels are appearing as they are needed, offering us refuge and help, even their home two hours away while waiting for our insurance adjuster to meet with us in order to assess the damages to our house and property. There’s little more that we can do than simply be present in the moment and in the calm center of Being, receiving what comes and offering help where we are able.
Speaking of help, it’s coming forth everywhere, as it does in crises such as this. Neighbor helping neighbor and strangers pitching in to clear the debris–not to mention all the utility workers restoring power lines and replacing the hundreds of downed utility poles. Like an ant hill disturbed, the near frantic activity in the city and surrounding areas began the day after the storm. The human spirit is undaunted. Compassion, kindness, generosity and love abound everywhere. We are blessed by so many. Thank you all for your support in so many ways. God bless you each one.
Until my next post,
Be love. Be loved.