Thoughts on Hurricane Florence

I’ve struggled with what to write about Hurricane Florence, who stands a good chance of becoming my personally least favorite hurricane to date. As I write from afar, the waves are pushing up against the dunes across my island and many of the nearby islands as well. Rivers are swelling, streets are flooding, and that angry sky seems everywhere.

Our original island home, the one we dreamed of and planned for and lived so much of our lives in, will likely sustain a serious hit in the hours that follow. When you have a home on an island, you know there are risks.

But still. There is no joy in watching this unfold.

We spent some time there again last week, cleaning up after our last tenants and enjoying the beach. Last night, weary of weather reports and worry, I pulled up the pictures of that visit. In my preoccupation with Florence, I’d already forgotten some things, like how, for instance, the kids decided to take an air mattress, abandoned by tenants,

and use it first as a surfboard (mostly a fail)

and later as a raft

(mostly a success).

I wish I had better pictures, but late the first night, the moon rose, fire-orange, up from the Atlantic just as I stepped outside. The next night, just as darkness had fully settled in, an oceanfront fireworks display brought me running outside to watch the yellows and blues and purples and greens lighting up the sky.

Memory leads on to memory, and soon between pictures I was remembering back through the years, to holidays and ordinary days and moonlit walks and sunrise talks and all of it, our lives so full here.

I got to the end of the pictures and realized I’d forgotten something else. On the last night, my oldest stayed out on the beach later than the rest of us. He sat on through the dusk and into the night, watching the shoreline and the Atlantic before him.

I’m glad he got a chance to do that, after several days of what we all had decided was perfect weather, in that Eden-like place, just before the storm.

Our emotions run the gamut right now, as is probably true for so many with this hurricane. But we are holding to our faith, and we are so grateful for the lives we’ve been able to live at this precious place. It has been a joy-filled gift. I, and so many I know, will be praying for the coast and beyond, almost round-the-clock, the next few days. My prayers are especially with all of the first responders and emergency personnel already working tirelessly to ensure public safety; we are most thankful for your sacrifice.

Peace to you all.

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