Hubby and I have been busy traveling the past month. For Easter, we celebrated with our dear friends along with Little Man (who is not so little anymore) and his folks. It was a wonderful time to celebrate and catch up.
The week after Easter we traveled to Florida to see Little Miss and her folks. We were able to spend a couple of weeks with them.
Little Miss, as you may recall lives in the panhandle of Florida. Seven months ago the area they live in was hit by the category 5 hurricane Michael. I confess as we drove down the excitement of seeing my daughter and her family outweighed any thought of what had happened seven months ago. Time and events are like that, we watch the news reports before and during a major event like the hurricane, and we think and pray for the area for a bit and then, as normal, we forget.
Yes, we had talked with our daughter and had been kept abreast of the recovery of the area, but, we live several states away and the reality of what it is like fades with each passing week.
We stopped to get gas and I texted our daughter our progress. She texted back and asked if were starting to see some of the damage. We hadn’t at that point.
Shortly after our stop, our mouths started to open wide. On either side of us there were acres of open spaces. Trees were gone. The trees left standing were either twisted or snapped off at the top like someone had taken a sharp saw and cut off all the tree tops. The roadside stands that dotted the highway were either gone or mangled, laying in heaps of debris. Hubby kept asking what the gps said the speed limit was, I thought he was being overly cautious. Finally, tired of checking the speed limit I told him to look at the signs, he calmly told me there were none. Homes were covered in tarps that took the place of roofs or walls. All of this was miles from where the eye of the storm hit. We were dumbfounded.
Our hearts were saddened by what we saw. All of this devastation and it has been seven months. I couldn’t imagine how these people were dealing with all of this. This area was where the outer bands of the hurricane was. Our daughter had told us that funding was not coming for repairs. That several of the insurance companies were sluggish. I felt so bad knowing that I was driving through this area on the way to my great joy in seeing a grandchild. It was a vacation, and we had just left our home with the roof intact and our home surrounded by trees full of leaves and branches.
And then… At an intersection I saw a school bus. A few feet down I looked into an empty field and saw a tractor plowing up the land. I saw a makeshift table and tent selling items, I saw hope. These people may have been hit hard, but, they did not flounder. Yes, there are tarps covering many of the homes there. There are many stores still not open because they are awaiting repairs, there are buildings with just the steel structure showing, there are more tarps on homes and buildings than I could imagine. But, there is hope. There is life. There is resilience. Hurricane Michael was a category 5 hurricane, it hit hard. But, it did not diminish the strength of the people who live there.
Yes, the landscape of the area is different, driving into our daughter’s development was different. There were no trees, except the palm trees. There was a pond that no one noticed before because it was surrounded by trees. We watched roofs being put back on, life getting back into a new normal. We saw hope in action.
As we drove out of town, hubby chuckled a bit. I looked up from my phone and he pointed to the side of the road. The speed limit signs had returned. Hope.
Thanks for stopping by… DAF (Cathi)