We have always wanted to see Rockport during a storm. The picture of waves crashing mercilessly against the rocks, the high tides and the sheer strength of the ocean appeal to our love of adventure and more. It was unthinkable, then , that we would be anywhere else to go through ‘hurricane that would turn into tropical storm Irene’.
On Saturday Cliff walked to downtown Rockport and saw evidence of hurricane preparations everywhere. Signs hung in windows of stores warned shoppers that they would be closed Sunday due to the hurricane with written pleas to shoppers to “stay safe”.
I joined Cliff Saturday night. A light rain had begun and we were safe and ready with candles, matches, water, flashlights and food.
The ocean did not disappoint. From yards away we could see swells. Sea gulls gathered on rocks away from the waves resembled a gathering at a women’s guild exchanging gossip. One of my favorite places to sit, a natural bench formed out of rocks and usually dry, was wet from ocean spray. Twenty foot high waves crashed on the rocks, followed by smaller, and then larger still and the sound was quite magnificent.
Of course, it was magnificent and amazing because I was safe. I knew before setting foot outside that the storm was no longer a hurricane and I gauged the wind from the safety of a solid foundation. I was sure-footed and not afraid.
Even as I watched the strength of the storm, I realized that physical storms are easier than emotional ones. Often emotional storms are likened to physical – the “storms of life” and all that. But physical storms can be shared and can build community. There is a collective understanding that you will share stories of where you were during the storm, what you did and how strong it was when it finally came to your area.
Emotional storms and storms of the soul are not as easily shared and are often faced alone. It doesn’t matter how many candles and matches, water and food that you have. They do little to soften the hard part. I wish they could be weathered in the same way with anticipation, good food, and frequent phone updates.
As I watched the storm with ocean spray pelting my face I realized I’d rather go through a physical storm than an emotional one any day, but realistically they both come my way and sometimes with little warning. The challenge is to believe that God has power to calm both kinds of storms and grow in my understanding of safety as more than a physical foundation.
Enough philosophizing! Take a look at the pictures. You’ll see our only damage – a huge branch of a willow tree broken off into the neighbor’s yard. Today all traces except a few fallen branches were gone and the sky and ocean are bright blue.
- Video: Hurricane Irene’s Birth and Death Seen From Space (wired.com)
- FiveThirtyEight: How Irene Lived Up to the Hype (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Hurricane Irene was actually bigger than hurricane Katrina (csmonitor.com)