Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What it looks like today

I was talking to an acquaintance, and the very first topic we covered was, "How did you do"? We meant the hurricane. "How did you do? Is there a tree in your living room? Are all your windows intact? Have you lost your mind and taken to rocking in an empty bathtub carying on a secret conversation with Jim Cantore. He and are both Hurricane Ivan refugees, still displaced from our homes because of a storm that happened last September. After Ivan, the most-often-heard points of conversation were Luck and Evacuation. "We were so lucky no one was killed." and "Next time we'll evacuate." This time, after a much less intense storm, the topic of conversation seems to be leaving. For good. My acquaintance M--- says his daughter is going off to college in a couple months, and there is less and less that is holding his wife and him in the area. Then he says casually that his attorney wife is already licensed in Colorado, and that his profession has a reciprocal agreement with that state. Clearly it was more than a fleeting thought. There were professional licenses involved. But, he added, Nirvana looks different every day. "Sometimes it looks like Colorado. Sometimes it looks like Northern California." Nirvana does not look like this place - unless Nirvana is littlered with fallen trees, shattered plastic signs and citizens wandering around with a glazed, what-the-fuck expression. The aftermath of last year's storm is still so prevalent, it's hard to tell what is new storm damage and what is old. One day, everything willb e shiny and new - or at least, that is what I've been telling myself since last year. But it is beginning to look like things will never be fixed. And every June to November there is another hurricane season, and another chance for all your repair work to be destroyed. I know that the nature of life is its temporary-ness, and the better part of the work we do in life is coming to terms with the fleeting quality of our existence. Sands through the hourglass, blah, blah, blah. Another friend tells me there is no point in leaving town because all that hurricane stress will follow you wherever you go. Post-traumatic stress is not localized, she says. If you leave, you won't worry about hurricanes, you'll worry about snowstorms or car accidents or something else. Sure. People who have been through life-threatening events need to heal the wounds caused by their experiences. I'm not sure I can do that here, though, where the entire community is suffering from PTS and so much is broken. I'm not sure I'm up to that. I'd rather aim for something that looks like Nirvana today - someplace where things are whole enough that I can start rebuilding myself.


Blogger PPB said...


3:42 PM  

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