The “I’s” Definitely Have It
I have been through many hurricanes in my lifetime. Five years ago, I experienced my first encounter with an “eye” of a hurricane, courtesy of “Irma.” All of my experiences were different, from wind and rain damages. As far as my memories of each, and the days after, they are all distinct to each storm; “Gloria”, “Floyd”, “Irene”, and super storm “Sandy”. All of these storms had differing impacts and affected daily activities from clean up to functioning without conveniences of running water, electricity, and cable. Life after “Irma” gave me experiences I could have only imagined, such as driving at night, with absolutely no lighting, traffic lights and street lights, not even the ambient lighting of businesses along the roads, just pitch blackness, with no concept of where I even was.
But “Ian”, now the second storm to hit the east coast of Florida in five years, has left me with a whole new level of feelings of heartbreak that I have not experienced with the other storms. As far as “Irma” was concerned, it was a much more scary hurricane, in that its anticipation, and roar as it passed overhead, really had me feeling it was not going to end well.
“Ian” on the other hand, was not as bad a storm for those of us further inland, but for those along our coast, using a gauge of location to a main highway, all those located on the coastal side of that route, needed to evacuate due to an expected storm surge, likely over ten feet, which could potentially push Gulf water miles inland.
Just as with “Irma,” now that power and cable is available, we “locals” can now see the devastation that has been left behind. Homes flooded. Boats having floated from their docks, many now dumped in lawns and parking spaces. Cars have been washed away, many now settled and huddled together in various locations.
Again, it is not the destruction that is really affecting me. We expect that. And our hearts go out to all of those who lost everything except for their lives. Hopefully, just as with the other storms, the rebuilding of lives will begin.
The one thing different for me with this storm, is that just over a month ago, while my daughters were visiting me here, we visited many of the locations, now either destroyed, or totally gone. The pictures above are from Fort Myers Beach, just completely flattened with is landmark pier destroyed. One of the most beautiful pictures at sunset with my daughters came on that pier, this past August. We enjoyed some ice cream in the shop just next to the pier. All that is left is a photograph and the memory. The destruction of a major causeway, beginning at the location of a restaurant we just ate at, will serve as a constant reminder to where it will be a long time again, before we can travel, with access to the beautiful islands now cut off. Video of the angry tides from “Ian” thrashing the buoy at Mile Marker 0 in Key West, my daughters now look at the reporting today from the news, and can personally reflect on a happier time at these famous spots.
We all thought “Irma” would be the worst storm we had ever experienced. We were wrong. “Ian” will go down in the books like “Katrina” and “Agnes.” Places will be re-built, and hopefully casualties will be kept to a minimum. I am not sure when I will get to see all the beautiful spots again, or even if, as it is going to take a long time to build back.
But for now, for those of us who were fortunate enough during this storm, we need to do what we can to help, whether it be by donations, or soliciting local businesses with patience and understanding, that someone serving us, might have just lost everything. A stranger’s kindness can go a long way in times like these.