Hurricane Lessons

Hurricane Sandy came to a shore near me and let me tell ya, she was all that and then some that she was cracked up to be. My town was flooded for nearly 3 days. I have been without power since Sunday night and counting. My apartment is frigid. I dreamt that I was suspended between 2 thin sheets of ice and reality is not far from it. I have been bundling up head to toe, burying myself under 2 thick blankets and still waking up shivering in the middle of the night. I’m convinced that the air outside is warmer than the air inside. My cell phone lost its charge almost immediately after the storm started and I was trapped in my apartment for nearly 2 days with no way to leave or contact anyone. My hallways are still pitch-black due the absence of any natural light coming through and every time I venture out it feels eerily like a set from a horror movie. Even though my condition sounds horrible, there are many others who are suffering much worse. Anyone with a first floor apartment can kiss their belongings goodbye. Seriously, the water reached up to 4-5 feet in some areas that entire basement and first floor units were ruined. Mother Nature’s powers are truly humbling. I’ve heard of accounts of cars being submerged and relocated entire city blocks in her fury. Hundreds, no thousands of people are without power, in shelters or huddled up with friends and family as I write this and my heart goes out to them.
I have been using these past few days to reflect on my current situation and I’m happy to report that the optimist in me is overjoyed and the pessimist in me can’t find a single reason to complain. I was well-prepared eventhough I didn’t heed the warnings completely. As a result, I’ve spent the better part of this week mostly chillin’ in my apartment, either reading or sleeping. I’ve had a roof over my head, food in my belly, warmth in my body and candles to light the way. I’ve managed to cook a decent meal over the gas stove (getting it to work was another story) and even figured out a way to take a warm shower during this ordeal. Does this make me a superhero? Absolutely not! Let’s not kid ourselves, I’m no frontier woman. But, at least this proves that I possess some basic survival skills and might be trusted upon to make camp should there be a need.
But, when all is said and done, this is the reason I wanted to write this blog… FAMILY! I don’t live near my immediate family and there were moments during this week when I wished I had my circle of trust around me. You can’t underestimate the power of community during crisis, even if it is just to share a warm embrace or a kind word. They say, a friend in need is a friend indeed, and I cannot agree more. I was quite moved by the number of people who have reached out to me this week to make sure I was okay. Coworkers, friends, neighbors… these are the people who have claimed me here and for that I’m grateful. They were relentless in getting in touch with me, texting me, calling me and some even going as far as coming to my apartment to ensure my safety. I’m touched by their benevolence and it’s nice to know that I’m accounted for. It feels wonderful! So, in the lingering aftermath of Sandy, here are my takeaways. 1. Always be Prepared, 2. Enjoy the Silence, 3. Help your neighbor, and most importantly, 4. Count your blessings- in whatever form they come!

Disclaimer: These pics were not taken by me.

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