Dear Hurricane/Nor’easter Sandy,
Remember when I asked you to take it easy on us? You could have at least made an attempt to comply. Instead, you did the opposite. You barreled on land like a whirling mammoth, Mother Nature’s spin cycle and a force to be reckoned with as you showed us your worst. You toppled hundreds of trees across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware – and more in other states – including an oak that fell onto my friend’s car and crushed it beneath its thick limbs. You dropped inches upon inches of rain. You made rivers rise and overflow their banks. You sent debris slamming into houses and tore off rooves like they were made of whispery cotton instead of sturdy wood and metal. You blew across the land with winds of over eighty miles per hour and made transformers blow, lighting up the night sky with flashes of orange, red, blue, and green. You knocked out power to over seven million people, leaving us in the dark and canceling school for days.
Know what’s not fun? Having no power, no heat, no telephone, no cable, and no cell service. Know what’s even less fun? When the outages last and last (and last), turning your house into a walk-in freezer. Playing Scrabble by the glow of candlelight was enjoyable … shivering was not. I used a regular sheet, flannel sheet, winter comforter, fleece blanket, and crocheted blanket last night, and I still woke up so cold that I had to put on a hat, scarf, and gloves. Even so, my hands were icy to the point that they were numb. I cannot shake the internal chill. But we were lucky. Our power finally came back on a few hours ago, but there are many places still shrouded in darkness. There’s devastation in states all across the Northeast, trees crashed through houses – one just two minutes from mine – and floodwater sweeping through roads and subway platforms.
And then there’s the Jersey shore … the beautiful, special, magical shore. It is just … decimated. The boardwalk has been washed away, there’s a foot of sand in the streets, stores are underwater, amusement parks are literally floating in the ocean. When the eye of the storm slammed ashore, the ocean met the bay, sending waves crashing for blocks and blocks. There were fish swimming in the roads, boats toppled upside down, and houses blown apart. Seeing the pictures and video just breaks my heart. It’s so hard to see your favorite place in all the world in ruins. Ventnor, Ocean City, Stone Harbor … those towns are home to some of my most special moments. They are home to summer after summer of joy. I don’t live there, but they are home. Thinking of what’s happened to them makes me feel like crying. Experiencing the storm was scary. Seeing the devastation it’s wreaked is so sad.
But do you know what, Sandy? You didn’t win. You may have flooded the region, but you can’t wash away our memories. You can’t crest over the ties that bind us – whether to the Jersey shore, to NYC, to anywhere that has worked its way into our souls. We are resilient, and determined, and grateful to be safe. Physical things can be replaced. People cannot. So even though you tried your hardest, you didn’t defeat us. You didn’t dampen our spirits. We didn’t sink. It’ll take a long time, but things will get back to normal. We’ll have our own kind of high tide again.
Goodbye, Sandy. Good riddance.