I adore storms, really, really love them. The sound, the smell, the lightning, the thunder, the wind. I love a good storm. I love the sky before a storm, the shapes of the clouds, the way they undulate across the sky, moving and changing. After the storm, the smell is unbelievable. I even love hurricanes. I don’t love the damage they do, I don’t love that they leave disaster in their wake. I like the Cat One’s and the Tropical Storms. I love the way you can smell the sea two hours from the shore as a hurricane moves up the coast. I stay out in storms as long as I can, until it’s actually dangerous for me to be outside. That’s my definition of dangerous, my Mother’s definition drew the line far earlier than I did and was always yelling at me to get back inside. I just couldn’t, I love the feel of storms.
All that being said, I’m really not stupid or unsafe. Once a hurricane reaches Category 3 and above, I get inside and stay there. I seek shelter when a tornado threatens. I keep firewood handy in the winter in case of a bad snow storm in case the lights go out. (Really, I spent a week without power during a terrible ice storm. The temperature never got above freezing all week long.)
Last time there was a huge and nasty hurricane headed towards New Orleans I was amazed at the number of people who chose to stay. Amazed. And the people who chose to stay who insisted that the government babysit them. I wondered how the city would respond were another hurricane to threaten, unfortunately, now I know. And I am really happy with the response. I saw a headline “No shelter for those that stay…”. Here is the story. The first paragraph was something I’ve waited to hear from a government for a long, long time:
NEW ORLEANS — Police with bullhorns plan to go street to street this weekend with a tough message about getting out ahead of Hurricane Gustav: This time there will be no shelter of last resort. The doors to the Superdome will be locked. Those who stay will be on their own. (emphasis mine.)
I nearly cheered out loud when I read that. Good for them. Treat people as adults, require them to be responsible, offer what help you can and then leave them to the consequences of their actions and choices. No more babysitting. Amen.
Obviously, I am worried about the damage, destruction and loss of life that will come with Gustav.