It’s a strange thing, living in Florida. We get these hurricanes, right? These massive, life-destroying forces that like to swing through juuuuust when we are getting ready to say goodbye to summer and gratefully welcome the cooler temperatures and calmer weather patterns of fall.
They’re out there, churning around in the ocean like a bully peeking over a schoolyard fence, just waiting to kill our buzz. And they do a hell of a job of it.
And thanks to modern meteorologic tools, we know about their arrival for, sometimes, weeks in advance.
We watch as they start as mere spinning dots on a weather map, traversing the ocean, inching closer and closer to our shores. We see them grow, gain strength, sometimes lose strength, and we hope that fate is on our side each time one gets close enough to be a threat.
And that’s where we are right now with Irma. Waiting Mode.
Being a Northern transplant, I find myself out of sorts during this “prep time,” unaccustomed to the whole dance everyone does in the days before the storm approaches.
Where I grew up, there were no weather events to prepare for on a scale like this. Sure, a tornado could touch down during a summer storm, or we might get pounded by a blizzard, but we had only a day or two notice, at most.
But for the most part, we had no time to prepare for Potential Utter Destruction like we do here in Florida, and this Northern girl at heart is having a hard time coming to grips with the bigness of what could happen here in just a few days.
As the storm inches closer to landfall, I watch my blood pressure and anxiety inch up right along with it.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones to have a place to shelter, and yet still, all I can think of is, how do we keep our kids safe during something as potentially destructive as a hurricane?
The answer is both—something, and nothing.
Turns out, there is a lesson to be learned from hurricanes. And it’s one that I’m trying to make myself to come to grips with.
There are things in life that are unstoppable. Forces of nature—like hurricanes—are just one of them. Things we have to sit down and wait out.
Every day in our lives, we are in the path of something barreling our way that’s potentially powerful, potentially disruptive. Something that could send us running for shelter.
Births. Deaths. Struggles. Victories. Big changes in our jobs, or our health, or the upending of our otherwise perfectly-laid plans.
A bunch of little hurricanes on the map, always there, always on our horizons. Thankfully, we can’t track those forces of nature on maps. And for the most part, I say that’s a good thing.
But sitting here, waiting for the potential worst case scenario, is teaching me something.
Sometimes, you just have to be patient.
Whether you have the benefit of knowing what’s coming your way or not, there are always Big Things coming. And although you prepare in the best way you know how—stockpiling your supplies and strength and your network of support—all you can do after that point is to sit and wait it out.
It’s not easy, and the end result might not be pretty. But it’s coming. And something tells me we’ll be stronger for it on the other end.
Stay safe, friends.