When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. ~Author Unknown
|The Sands Beach Club, next door to the venue we held our wedding reception. photo credit: A.Mills|
But it still is hard. The storm is not over. Although the wind and the rains have ceased, the tide of emotions is still rising and falling. Its hard to embrace the comfort of thankfulness when I’m overridden with feelings of guilt and helplessness in the face of those people not 2 miles away, who carted the entire contents of their house to the curb. Hard not to cry every time I click on a link to read another story about how people still don’t have power when its been below freezing temperatures at night, and has been for weeks. Hard to not give into the murderous rage I feel when the news reports come in of people stealing generators from their neighbors, siphoning fuel from the emergency response vehicles, and attacking the out-of-state linemen who are thousands of miles from home trying to restore utilities to all of us who were affected by the storm. And then the good tide rolls in. Election Day brought a brief surge of pride for my neighbors as people lined up in our powerless little voting station, generators humming to supply electricity to the polling booths and floodlights. Residents filling out forms by flashlight, and standing in line to vote with smiles and hellos, even though the none of us had any heat or lights or conveniences at home to speak of. The news covering government officials actually working together for once to aid the people they were elected to lead. And the stories of the donations and relief efforts make my eyes well up with gratitude. Of common men doing uncommon goodness for strangers. And for the mighty coming together in efforts to provide benefit concerts and events to help those devastated by the storm. Yet, there is only so much donating money and food and baby clothing, can do to ease the feelings of impotence.
|People in my own town emptying their flooded homes after the storm waters receded. photo credit: M.Sullivan|
|Dock from the river washed up on the front lawn of a home in the next town.|
|The very beach my husband proposed, missing most of the boardwalk and sand. photo credit: C.LaPlaca|
For almost four months of the year, the small strip of sand that marks the threshold to the ocean is adopted by everyone in the state. Even by people from states away. This is a loss that will be felt hardest by its residents, the people who live and work amid the devastation, but it is a loss that is shared by us all. I can’t see how anyone in this great state made it out unscathed. No matter where our permanent homes are, every one of us has a part of ourselves invested in those magical miles by the sea.
|Me and Little Bear at our yearly August beach retreat earlier this year. Notice the houses upper left.|
|The same houses shown in my beach photo from August. photo credit:A.Mills|
Everything in Sandy’s path has been touched and reshaped. Landscapes have been rearranged. Landmarks have been expunged. And most of all, the people have been irrevocably altered. We will recover. We will rebuild. In a year or two, we will look back with pride at what we have overcome. But I don’t think we will ever be able to forget.
As so wonderfully suggested by a NOLA writer, who has lived through this type of devastation amid the aftermath of Katrina and lived to tell about it, are the words from Ulysses;
“Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”