Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reflections on another hurricane

As has become our habit, we decided to scamper away from the oncoming Michael a bit earlier than originally planned. Even a modest ramp up in winds, consistent 20s with guests into the 30s, would rough up the waters between the boats and the dock more than we should risk with the little ones. In addition, unloading the boats in heavy rain is just more work with everything being slippery and heavy; not helpful when the Dink is already bouncing and banging around in the wind and waves. So we bailed a day early, still had bouncy rides back and forth from boat to dock, and got a little wet.

Settling into the hotel always comes with sigh of relief. Then it becomes a waiting game, fidgeting as the hours tick by while wondering just how hard a turn our lives are about to make. A turn over which, in the physical sense of a storm’s path, one has absolutely no control or influence. It is good exercise for my everyday, working philosophy; which includes accepting that most things that steer a life are outside of my control and are, therefore, not my responsibility. My responsibility is making sound and intelligent choices in the face of those things. Do that and be content with the outcome, whatever it might be, for that is the best anyone can do.

There was always a reasonable chance we would come through unscathed and, though we haven’t been back to the boats yet, there is no reason to think otherwise. The storm is now north and west of Beaufort, not even disturbing our sleep as it passed in the night.

Tomorrow we will return to the boats and go about returning to what is normal living for us. Many discussions will follow as to what to do next, where to go, and for how long. Dodging bullets is expensive, though not near as expensive as catching one. Establishing an income stream of some sort will be necessary for a while. Sorting that out will have much to do with the direction Kintala’s bow points over the coming months. Cruising, for us, was never about retiring onto a boat. So far it hasn’t been about just learning to live on a boat either. Instead it has been a matter of learning to make a living while living on a boat. We are working on it.

It would be silly, not to mention an act of awesome arrogance, to think a hurricane was the least influenced by anything any individual might do. Yet having to shrug off a little bit of “survivor’s guilt” still comes with the event. This makes the third time in 13 months that utter disaster has passed within a whisker, disrupting millions of lives, yet leaving ours basically untouched. Somewhere, deep inside, a soul knows that just isn’t fair, that it is pure luck to land in the “unharmed” side of the equation. People far more deserving of a stroke of luck landed on the opposite side; people with fewer choices, fewer resources, alone, now destitute, facing the bleakest of futures. There is something wrong with a heart that isn’t touched by that, that isn’t left puzzled, that doesn’t wonder “why?”

Then again, Daughter Eldest and family that includes four young kids, are among those who deserve a bit of luck. Maybe Deb and I didn’t catch an undeserved break so much as ride along in their bubble of fortune.

Anyway, it is time to get back outside. Three days in a hotel, sitting with walls on every side, a roof overhead, and a floor that doesn’t move with the wind and the water, is okay. The air conditioning is nice, the staff here a delight, snuggling under the covers at night a treat. We paid for three nights, nonrefundable (based on the forecasts) and so will make the best of our little vacation. But, even after a vacation, it is always good to get back home.

Our home is more exposed to Mother Earth than most. And it is clear She doesn’t much care about human kind one way or the other. Some might even suggest she is getting a bit testy over our collective choices, displeased with our stewardship, and short-tempered with our irresponsibility and short-sighted greed. I can’t say, and can’t change it anyway. What I do know is that three of the most powerful storms in US history have now passed close by and, no matter what path they took or what else they might have done, some of the people I love most in the world were out of their direct reach. That is the world we live in, the home that we have chosen. We live in it the best that we can.

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