---Diane Ackerman (American poet)
Well here we are, on the other side of the "storm of the century," and most of us are still feeling a little shell shocked. As we Floridians prepared for Hurricane Irma, many in the media predicated a catastrophic land fall of a storm that at times registered Category 6 on a 1-5 scale. People were being evacuated in record numbers, and many said goodbye to their belongings for what they believed could be the last time.
We contemplated evacuating, but the traffic made it nearly impossible. The road trip that usually took six hours was taking twenty-four, and service stations were running out of gas before many people could complete that drive. Hotels were booked throughout the state of Florida, and exhausted evacuees forged on in their quest for safety. We were not in an evacuation zone, we have hurricane glass throughout and a soundly structured house. Daughter Beth and family came to us, and we weathered it together.
Having experienced hurricanes through the years, I would not have wanted to stay if we were in an evacuation zone. Winds are fierce and rising water is deadly, so my ultimate goal would be the safety of those I love. I respect other's rights to make that decision for themselves though, and must say that unless you are faced with the possible lose of all you own, judging other people's decisions seems arrogant at best, and cruel to those who are faced with that choice.
Irma came through Florida a little tamer than expected, but she was by no means a light storm. Over twenty-five percent of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed, and a whopping 60+ percent sustained significant damage. Up and down the state winds turned homes into rumble, and water poured into many homes from swelling waterways. A majority of Floridians lost their power, and some have yet to have it returned. We lost ours for a dreadful 27 hours (remember...September is the hottest month of the year in Florida) and poor Beth is still waiting for her's to return.
It is difficult to describe the vulnerability one feels at midnight, when the storm ravishes outside, and suddenly all light and air conditioning disappear from your house. On the other hand, we never forgot how fortunate we were to be in a solid home together.
Another thing that these natural disasters help us to remember is just how compassionate and heroic our fellow man can be. From the minute this storm became a reality, people in my immediate neighborhood offered help to those who needed it, while people throughout the country offered support in a variety of ways. Stores stayed open late to help people stock up, and when water ran low some store owners had bottles shipped in and offered them for free. Restaurants that lost their electricity partnered with neighbors who had grills, and cooked lobsters, steaks, chops and other goodies that they handed out to people who were tired of eating Vienna Sausages out of cans.
People risked life and limb to save those who were in trouble, and workman came from all over the country to contribute to the workforce needed to restore and rebuild. Scores of utility trucks poured into the state filled with needed equipment and people who left their families to give us back our lights. These are true heroes, and I thank them all.
Even in the dark, my trusty iPad allowed me to read, and who better to turn to in stormy weather than thriller writer, Harlan Coben? In his latest novel, Don't Let Go, Coben introduces us to Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas, a man on a mission to find out what really happened to his twin brother fifteen years ago. The howling winds and torrential rain of Hurricane Irma made a perfect backdrop for this book by one of my favorite authors.
As always, a complete review of this book follows my blog.