Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Waiting in gas lines on E

Katrina acted like a tropical storm here in the westernmost part of Florida. The wind was fierce, and there were a few flooded streets. We lost power for a while. This is becoming a bore. -Hey, Elizabeth, what's your blog about? -Weather. Here is something I wrote for the paper, followed by the best bit of mail I've received in a long time. Enjoy it. Meanwhile, please keep Anni and Moreena in your thoughts and prayers. ====== The machine hum of generators and chain saws. The piles, heaps and waves of debris. The vacant, stunned expressions of survivors. Red Crosses and Blue Roofs. This isn’t what I want to write. I don’t want to think about it, and neither do you. Let’s make a deal and not talk about it - not think about it at all. Not think about this horrible - no, UNIMAGINABLE - thing that has happened. Let’s not think about the fact that it could ever happen again. Can we talk about something else? Is there something on television we could watch? Can we go shopping? Maybe we can buy a couple of 35,000-calorie coffee drinks and leaf through fashion and shelter magazines imagining that nail polish and designer sheets were all that need to occupy our breezy thoughts. Uh-oh, I said “breezy.” I’m sorry; it won’t happen again. I know, I know. Shopping and reading magazines and watching TV won’t make this go away. Did it happen to you, too? Did your deep sigh of relief turn into a long, sick heave when you saw what happened? My cousin is there in Gulfport. The day before the storm, I heard through another relative that she decided not to evacuate. She and her husband moved there this summer, and maybe she wanted to stay in her new home. And since she is expecting a baby boy any week now, who can blame her for being reluctant to pack up her household and haul it to higher ground? The day of the storm, my stomach hurt until I heard that she was okay. But then, that was the day of the storm. Big, bad things seem bearable the day they happen. Something holy (or insane, depending on your perspective) stiffens your spine and clears your vision just long enough to get you to a place where it’s safe to fall on all fours, or crawl under the covers or strike whatever is your personal bewilderment pose. My personal favorite the classic Denial Stance. I’m like a mountaintop yogi who has spent her life perfecting this move. Did I tell you I spent the day after Katrina shopping for a new vacuum because company was coming to town? Katrina who? Let me tell you about my new friend, Dyson. Both my husband and my best friend Lolita always fall back on the Burn Down the Forest Position. There is a movie titled “The Edge,” (maybe you have caught it one of the 300,000 times it has aired on cable TV) in which Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin survive a plane crash only to contend with man-eating bears, a harsh Alaskan wilderness and David Mamet’s dialogue. Lolita and my husband agree that the most efficacious solution to the characters’ problem would be to burn down the forest. They’re action-oriented people, and that’s why I love them. But if you can’t deny something, and you can’t burn it down or fix it or make it go away, what do you do? 0Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco asked people to pray. A lot of us were way ahead of her. Even if you’re not the praying type, I’ll bet you whispered, “Oh, God” when you saw those flooded neighborhoods, rescue helicopters and crowded shelters. Maybe all we can do is pray. But prayer doesn’t have to be on your knees. Prayer can be a check or a pint of blood given with the hope that it finds the person who needs it most. Prayer can be an open door to someone whose doors and windows were blown away. Prayer can be a phone call to your cousin to let her know that it’s okay if she’s not okay today, because things will get better. We’re thinking about you. All of us here are thinking about all of you there. What Katrina did was unimaginable. And from where we’re standing now, recovery seems just as unimaginable. But the human imagination is limited. In “The Prophet,” Khalil Gibran wrote: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Our spirits been carved deeply by the storms we’ve witnessed. Time will reveal the rich, ornate beauty of what has survived. And when those hollow spaces fill with joy, no wind or wave will be able to touch us. ======== Dear Ms. Trever-Buchinger: Your article in the 9/04/05 "Praying for recovery......" was right on. For the first time in an aeon (a crossword answer variation of the word eon, meaning a LONG time) we didn't have to hear about your cancer, your children and family with weird flower or Mexican/Spanish names, or your personal grief. Bravo!! I have always looked forward to your opines, but for the last aeon they have become loathsome as you repeat, in Roget's invariable ways, the same self-suffering stories again and again. For once in an aeon, you have written an article (and I'm going to use the most detestable cliché borne in the new millennium) "outside the box" - talking about others' strife instead of your own. Keep up the good work! Very truly yours, Evelyn Coville Bradley


Blogger Moreena said...

OK, I agree that that is a pretty good letter.

It really makes me want to shout back, "Oh, yeah. Well, go take a leap!" Or something even more vulgar. But I know I never would because she mentions Roget's and spells "eons" and "born" in a really fancy way.

Very truly yours,
A Loyale Reader, Even More Single-Minded In Her Writings, Albeit None Of Which Are Offered For Publication Outside Of Her Own Webbe Site.

8:18 PM  

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