Good morning from the middle of Hurricane Isaac. I’m posting this on Tuesday night, expecting that I won’t have power Wednesday morning when you read this. Here’s a column I wrote for the BBC about what hurricanes can teach you about community. Excerpt:
On Monday, my father and a neighbour came into town with an extra portable generator for my family and me. Later, he and another neighbour rolled up with six empty fuel cans.
I rode with them in my dad’s pick-up truck to the gas station, and paid for the petrol that filled them all.
It was the least I could do, given how much I have forgotten about the practicalities of country life in the years I’ve been away.
But it was something. It doesn’t matter to these country people what you give. Only that you do.
Now, as you read this, the hurricane is upon us. Forecasters say it will rain hard for three days; there will be terrible flooding in places. We will have tropical storm winds for 24 hours and the threat of tornadoes. We may lose power for weeks.
But come what may, we will all be in it together. The storm will give us opportunities to sacrifice for each other, and even for strangers who show up on our doorsteps.
There can be blessing in brokenness, if you know how to look for it.
UPDATE: I cannot believe we still have power this morning — but it’s happening because the damn storm is still sitting on the edge of the shore. We have tropical storm winds out there now, but no rain yet. Local news said that the coastal areas are getting the hell beat out of them by this thing, because it’s just sitting there and barely moving. Six miles per hour. The news keeps telling us that we’ve barely gotten started here in the Baton Rouge area, and it’s going to last till late Thursday or Friday. I’ve never seen anything like this. The problem is two competing high pressure systems impeding the hurricane’s progress inland. A levee broke in Plaquemines Parish, news reports. Lots of rescues happening. Under normal conditions, the storm would have already passed those people by now … but it’s pretty much just sitting there, lashing everybody.