Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Water, Wind and Fire


The night that Hurricane Sandy came ashore, the beachfront community of Breezy Point in Queens, New York was devastated by an uncontrolled fire that eventually engulfed 100 homes, burning them to their foundations. All that remained after the fire was a stone statue of the Virgin Mary, arms raised beseechingly in the middle of the apocalypse. The neighborhood was home to numerous police officers and firefighters, who watched helplessly as the storm whipped the fire from house to house.


Along the shore, other houses bore marks of a raging tidal surge that washed into homes and took huge pieces of people's lives as the waters returned to the sea.    


The death toll now stands at 50 on the East Coast. In Manhattan alone, some two hundred thousand people are still without power. Towers that relay cell phone signals are beginning to lose their charge, meaning the blackout area could soon become totally cut off. The more we hear the stories, the more we begin to fathom the true dimensions of the storm. Hard to believe the affected states will manage to hold an election next week. But please don't get me started on those who are playing politics with this disaster (such as claiming Obama is trying to buy votes with emergency relief), or I might be tempted to share my own thoughts. I'm posting these photos because they made me stop and really take in the devastation. They helped me stay focused on the things that matter. I don't know anyone in Breezy Point, but I feel so humbled by my good fortune today. Hold your loved ones close.

10 comments:

  1. Although I believe that each storm is its own storm, looking at these pictures and others, it seems to me that the devastation these storms leave in their wakes are cousins to one another.

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    1. Glenn, that comment strikes me as so profound. For me, it holds the additional truth that in the wake of such disaster, we are all connected, our fates are bound. The profound part is that disaster only reveals this. It is always true, but never more visible than when things fall apart and we have to link arms to put them back together. xoxo

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  2. I'm so grateful that you continue to post these photos, these words and your thoughts on what's going on. My many relatives in New York and New Jersey are cut off, and I just learned that my cousin in Rockland County has a pile of sticks and broken glass instead of a house. So, so terrible. It's strange and disconcerting to be out here under bright blue skies and blazing sun. Really, really strange.

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    1. Elizabeth, I'm glad you're getting something from these posts. I feel as if I'm putting the photos up for myself, so I can see what it was like where I was not, so I can always remember. I am sorry to hear about your cousin. I hope he/she has family or good friends close by who can help in the very real way they need right now. I can imagine the strangeness of being under blue skies while across the country this crisis is unfolding. It was how I felt when Katrina happened. Love to you, friend. I am glad the Walk for Sophie went well. Enjoy your motherly duties for Halloween tonight! Lol.

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  3. What every storm I've ever been in reminds me of is that we are completely powerless against such force and energy. There is absolutely nothing one can do. It is humbling. It is a reminder of how puny humans really, in the whole scheme of things, are.
    And then, when the storm passes, I am reminded of how strong the human spirit is to rebuild what has been destroyed.

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    1. Dear Mary, so now I have experienced a hurricane and i know deeply what you mean about being powerless in the face of it—and how powerful the human spirit is in the aftermath, just as you say. Love to you, dear one.

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  4. That last photo made my breath catch inside of my chest. Terrible, so very terrible. I pray that you and your family are all safe and that you are hanging in as best you can. Please take good care and know that we are holding you all very close in our thoughts and prayers.

    Much love always, my friend.

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  5. I am stunned. So much loss and no words to express the magnitude.

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  6. Unbelievable. I hadn't seen that last photo before.

    I've never been in such a major storm, despite growing up in Florida. I can't imagine what it must have been like.

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