Monday, June 1, 2009

It Starts Today

There are two dates that all southern coastal residents know like they know their own birthdays-- June 1st and November 30th, the first and last days of Hurricane Season.

The rest of the country may yawn, but on the coasts, people start buying batteries, water and canned goods. They lay in a couple of tarps, check the chain saw, and pull out the weather and battery-powered radios. People who have been through hurricanes before put copies of their valuable documents, including insurance policies and photos of their undamaged homes, in a travel box with family photos.

I'm thinking about all of my Florida friends today and my sister on the Texas coast. Hoping that they'll be safe this year.

My stomach still knots up on June 1st even though we live hundreds of miles from the ocean now. I lived on the Atlantic coast of Florida for twenty great years. Scuba-diving, sailing, kayaking, year-round green gardens, wearing shorts on New Years, I loved it. And I lived in Coconut Grove when Hurricane Andrew hit, and years later in Vero Beach when the eyes of Frances and then Jeanne went over our barrier-island home three weeks apart. I know what it feels like to sleep under a blue-tarped roof without electricity, to be exhausted and afraid.

I still miss the ocean. But I don't miss hurricane season.
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