Now comes the hard part. At least, that’s how I see it from where I sit. Granted, where I sit is a warm home with a fire blazing. We have power, we have food, we have gas in the truck. Yes, we’re fortunate. Unlike the five million or so others who still have no power.
We all knew Sandy was coming, and I believe we’re all the better for it. My grandparents once said there were no extended weather forecasts in their day. Meteorology counted for little more than a telegraph from the next town over, or that old adage about red sky in the morning, sailor take warning. Storms back then were worse, they told me, because you didn’t really know what was coming. I think that’s true. Nowadays, at least we can set ourselves before the punch is thrown at our jaw.
Probably like you, I watched it all from the comfort of my living room. Listened as the weathermen and weatherwomen spoke of nothing like this ever happening before and how whole stretches of land would be swallowed and how many things would never be the same. And just as in every instance of oncoming doom, there was a curios sort of excitement mixed with fascination that made some do pretty stupid things. And when Sandy finally came she came just as it had been predicted, washing away and blowing away and prompting us to remember that we really aren’t the ones in charge at all, that there are bigger monsters than the ones who hide under our beds, ones more real.
And when it blew and poured we all spoke of the devastation and the fear and the utter sadness, and just after there came the stories of those who saved lives and property out of sheer heroism—the first responders, the national guardsmen, the ordinary people who were made great by extraordinary circumstances. If there is a silver lining in times such as these, I think it is the reminder that there resides in us better people than what we normally are.
Here in the mountains there was rain and wind and snow but little else. For that, we are all thankful. But my thoughts turn to my Yankee neighbors. Because as I said, now comes the hard part.
They’ve taken the punch, you see. Taken it square. And that sense of determination and the will to pick up and move on is kindling. Such a sentiment is unique to humanity and speaks of the holiness that dwells in us—we will not be beaten. We will rise again. We will be better than we were. It’s a desire that can carry us through horrible times and build bridges between ourselves and others were only chasms once were. Few things unite us more than disaster. I suppose that could be seen as both a supreme blessing and a great sadness.
The storm may be over—broken up over western New York, perhaps, or tossed back out to sea to be swallowed by the Atlantic. But even now there are darker clouds and colder winds growing. I’ve read that food is growing scarce and gasoline scarcer. Power to many places won’t be back online for a week or more. And November in New England is more akin to January most everywhere else.
In that regard I suppose the storms we face in our lives are no different than the storms we face in our hearts. In the beginning we endure them through adrenaline and determination. In the aftermath, we endure them through faith and work. And though I would never answer for you, I will say from my own experience that the after is usually worse than the during.
That is why my prayers will be with them even more now.