I’m heartsick watching the news from Vermont, in the wake of Irene’s pummeling. I spent a fabulous weekend there last month – wonderful enough that I still consider living there (well, except for the snow). It’s so hard to picture the idyllic countryside where I spent three wonderful days, drowning in torrents of muddy water. Roads washed out, fields flooded, bridges gone, homes destroyed, towns cut off from civilization. Three historic covered bridges were washed away. How could things change so quickly?
We read about all of the preparations NYC made before Irene’s arrival. We didn’t think at all about what she might do to other states.
I know other places are suffering, too, but Vermont is close to my heart this summer, so I feel the strongest about it. I’m sure familiar places in upstate NY are also struggling to recover from the storm, and my heart goes out to them, too. And Connecticut. New Jersey. North Carolina. On and on…
It reminds me of Hurricane Charley in 2004. Forecasters predicted he’d come ashore in Tampa, so that city was ready. Then he took a sudden left-hand turn into Charlotte Harbor, and destroyed Punta Gorda and much of Port Charlotte. No one was ready for that, just like folks weren’t really ready for this.
I drove this very road a month ago. I enjoyed meeting local people. Celebrated a weekend filled with music and fun and friendship. And now these folks are worried about their homes, their friends, their livelihoods.
Hurricanes are a way of life down here. We know them. We know how to prepare for them. And we’ve suffered loss from them. But we accept them as part of living in Florida. Folks in Vermont haven’t accepted that threat. It somehow just doesn’t seem fair that we barely felt a wink from Irene – she saved her full force for others.
I wish I could go up there and help, somehow. All I can do is support my friends, and send up thoughts and wishes for strength and endurance. They’ll come back better than ever. But for now, there’s just too much loss.
(pictures courtesy of AP)