Those of you who follow the blog may remember that I wrote a bit about a freak storm we had in the middle of August. It was one of those rare occasions, when I had gone into Albuquerque to have dinner with friends. When I finally navigated the flooded roads to get to my house through what looked like snow. Later I learned that a bizarre thunderstorm moving over the mountains must have collided with some cold air and the result was an intense hailstorm with 60 mph winds. According to my neighbors it only lasted a short time, sounded horrific, and did thousands of dollars in damage to a narrow swath of east mountain residences.
That was over two months ago. I was fortunate that my insurance company came promptly, gave me the estimate and some recommendations and within a few weeks I had a new roof and new windows. What has lasted much longer is the uneasy feeling I have about the safety of my home. This is the first new house I’ve ever owned. I planned, saved, designed, and built, what I hoped would be my retirement home. (it still is.)
And I’m fortunate that this is the most terrible thing I’ve ever had to endure. I still have trouble finding the words to describe the disbelief I felt standing on the soaked carpeting of my bedroom floor with broken glass everywhere along with mud, sticks, and other debris. I felt violated. I felt unsafe. I felt powerless.
I never lost power. The temperature was normal. My dogs were safe. And yet, it took me weeks to feel normal.
Like most people, I watched in horror as the storm of the century decimated parts of the east coast last week, turning thousands of lives upside down. Houses, buildings, trees, cars… No structure was left untouched. The images were on my TV set, the disembodied voices sounded distant. The only way I could relate was to think about the 20 minute unpredictable freak storm that damaged several dozen homes and then dissipated. I had multiply that by hundreds to even begin to understand the devastation I was trying to absorb.It was more than I could assimilate.
I’m still not sure I understand the magnitude of it all, but my heart hurts for the men, women, and children who’ve lost everything. Everything. If I was younger and stronger and not so tired, I would like to be there to help. To distribute some meals or even water bottles. To be able to provide a sleeping bag or a lantern. To put my arm around someone and honestly promise that it would be okay. I can do little but donate money and feel so grateful for the legions of people who’ve left the comfort of their own homes to help our neighbors, our citizens, and Our Family.
In the midst of the hateful, polarizing, political campaign filled with vitriol and lies, we are given a gift. A snapshot of the greatness of the citizens of this young country. In the flooded filthy streets of New Jersey, Long Island, Staten island and all along the coast, Americans—real American patriots—are reaching out and helping one another. Where are the 1% now? Where are the wall street profiteers? Where are the oil company executives who promise a better world? And most importantly where are the damn politicians we elected to take care of us, to be our voices, to stand for what We believe in?
I’m disgusted with the divisiveness, the selfishness, and the greed I read about every single day. This is not the country I grew up in.
I’m proud to be an American and I’m proud of every single human being who has put their life on hold to help their neighbors. You are each in my thoughts and prayers.