Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mother Nature's Wrath

Memory and time can tend to expand and enhance experience and to make memories unreliable. As I read about and watched people explain their recent experiencs with Hurricane Ike, I came to realize that my memories of the hurricanes in my youth have been enhanced over time.

What memory told me was horrible was, in the harsh light of inquest, in fact less horrific than I thought it was. Yes, the building shook and yes, windows shattered and yes, it was uncomfortable and taxing and stressful. But when I see what people experienced in Ike, the horror of my experience years ago is dwarfed.

I heard people describe going back to the sites of their homes to find nothing but debris. No walls, no roof, no appliances, no houses next door, nothing but debris. What they lost was not simply a lifestyle that can be rebuilt. They lost a life that cannot be reconstructed without a universal commitment by all of their neighbors and friends and family members...and many of their neighbors and friends and family members are too tired, too shocked, too worn out to even consider rebuilding, at least not yet.

It's only a few days after the devastation and I'm hearing stories of people who have given up. They don't want to try to fight Mother Nature's wrath again. They don't want to run again, they don't want to try to escape the furies of the wind and water ever again. They have no money, no homes, no transportation; they have nothing. And they have been beaten down one too many times to consider rubbing the dust and salt and tears from their eyes and starting anew.

My loss as a chiild was nothing. My parents' loss was catastrophic, but their recovery was spectacular. But even they might have just turned and walked away had they witnessed the horror that so many people along the upper Texas coast have been witnessing the last few days.

Storms like Ike don't have to leave death in their wake to have done irreparable damage. They need only leave broken hearts and broken wills to have crushed communities beyond repair.

1 comment:

YourFireAnt said...

This gets right to the heart of it. Thanks, Springer. You've done it again.