September 14, 2017
Without really trying, I’ve held it in. The last three weeks have been surreal watching a city I just visited for the first time not two months ago get swallowed up by water. Followed by the strongest Atlantic storm ever recorded barrel down on my hometown and state. I stayed calm, enacted multiple plans of action, kept watch on the predictions and adjusted accordingly. Like clockwork, I lost power but only after hearing and seeing my home town get blasted by massive winds and storm surge the likes not seen in a half-century. I planned for the lack of power, water, Internet and supplied accordingly. I provided a “safe place,” if there was such a thing, for my mom in my home. 48 hours after the storm had passed us, and 3 days since my home in the Florida Keys was devastated, I felt it. What was strong now is weak. Tears well at the thought of what’s gone and the recovery my friends and former classmates will endure. I went through Andrew and saw the annihilation of Homestead. I carry that fear and lessons learned each storm season. After enduring more than two dozen storms, my rational approach hasn’t changed, even today. And yet, as I sit in the dark hundreds of miles away, I hold back from outright weeping. I was lucky. My house is safe as are my possessions. I have food on the table and clean water. My employer has power, A/C and Internet. I have provisions to last another week. While I had to dispose of the contents of my fridge tonight, the condiments are meager to the consolations my friends are sharing online. Facebook has connected us like never before, and yet three days later, I don’t know if family friends are okay. Did they leave? Are they alive? What can I do to help? Pray. Support a neighbor here in Orlando. Pass along what little advice I have or supplies I can spare. Ice, gas, water, knowledge. All truer commodities of life now more than ever. I don’t know when I’ll return to my hometown. I’m sitting in my “home” as I write wishing there was more I could do. I was strong, but now I’m weak. What was lost may never be restored. I’ll be okay with that reality, eventually. But for now, I wait. Like millions of others, in the dark by candlelight, the hum of neighbors’ generators in the distance. This is #FloridaLife.
Florida Keys, Florida Life, Florida Man, Hurricane, Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Irma, Power Outtage,