I hope everyone on the east coast is staying safe, but if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to tell a little story that you can read (or not) by the glow of your smart phone or laptop screen and it’ll probably be a waste of your battery power, but I can’t help myself. I shouldn’t say this, I’m sure, but I’m a little jealous of my friends back east who are hunkering down for the storm. When I was three, a monster of a hurricane smashed right into Charleston. I was a three year old, toddly and happy and warm, even when it was cold. It would only be five more years until I became an anxious kid who sat in trees watching the neighbors play, wondering why I’d never be able to stride over in that confident way most kids do. Then, though, things were nice, and my parents ushered my brother and I over to a family friend’s house, where we all holed up for the next few days. We sat in the living room, and candlelight made the whole room glow. The night the storm hit, I slept on the floor in the hallway, feeling safe and happy among friends. I hugged a Mickey Mouse and a Minnie Mouse close to me and I doubt I had any trouble falling asleep.
The next morning, the adults got up to assess the damage and I peeked out the window to see what changes had come. Trees were felled and it looked a bit like a savage wonderland; it was the same place I had seen so many times before, yet so different. It felt a little bit like the end of the world, if I could have comprehended what the end of the world really meant, but I wasn’t afraid. Everything was very quiet.
The next week was a strange underwater world where everything moved slowly and strangely. We didn’t have power and I don’t remember what we ate. My parents were nervous and they spoke in low voices, but what I remember are walks through the wreckage of fallen trees and stray branches, and the way the leaves felt under my shoes. I remember sitting together with my family and with friends, and the way we were all in it together. I guess the grown up version of this involves lots of wine and snacky foods and friends and board games and no Internet, and all of those things sound mostly good, so I hope you are safe and okay and that when you look at the faces of your friends illuminated by candlelight, that you feel like everything will be alright.