Here I sit, at one AM, thinking on irony, on my own empathic abilities, and how my very soul aches for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I felt a similar inner ache before Katrina, Sandy, and a host of other storms that have pummeled the U.S. in the last decade or so.
It’s the same panic and loss I felt on June 8,1995, (<– video link) when I watched the town I lived near almost buckle beneath an F4 tornado. My family barely escaped the destruction; we almost didn’t reach a storm shelter before the tornado struck less than a block from where we hid. Soon after, I insisted that we move out of Tornado Alley so we wouldn’t subject to such horror ever again. (yes, I know tornadoes can and do happen just about anywhere)
We’ve little means of escaping Mother Nature’s tirades, so we are best protected by staying out of the way… but climate change is making that difficult for us to manage.
I’ve only known the gut-wrenching fear I felt that day in 1995 a few other times in my life. That day, our car was too close to where the tornado touched down… close enough that we felt it pulling us, sucking the car backward, and we all but blew the car’s transmission in our fight to get away. Thankfully, it was a big boat of an old car with a large engine. Both engine and transmission died less than two years later and at just over 100K miles.
(yes, this storm, this tornado… but I certainly didn’t take the image)
That car and the tornado’s slight turn, I believe to this day, are what saved us. Looking back, I’d heard whispers, subtle warnings that something bad was going to happen, for months beforehand, but I ignored them, believing my angst rose from a bitter spousal relationship.
Now, this past March, a similar ache, a whisper of something horrific in the making, returned to me, and this time I expressed my worry in the form of a short story.
Dearest gods, a small part of me feels like I gave it fuel when wrote about it, but I know I have no such actual power.
Still, the fact that this story came, even in small part, to life, causes me to mourn.
I won’t provide the name of the story, or say much else about it other than that it’s somewhere on my website, and that I’ve been considering taking it down since last weekend. I haven’t as of yet, but I’ve placed a disclaimer at the top stating that any similarities are purely coincidental.
I wish I had no cause to do so.
However, I can and will do the following, perhaps making something good of the story I wrote months ago. Please donate to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey but use common sense when you do so. Forbes posted a good article concerning donation do’s and don’ts two days ago, and I am going to share it below.
So, maybe I should listen to that empathic voice, my inner warning system a bit better. It’s not a writer’s voice, you see. It’s something deeper and darker, more urgent. Something that doesn’t come from my muse. But, at least this time, I confused the voices.
Regardless, you and I can and should help in Harvey’s recovery. Donate. Give time if you’re close enough. But search out the need and help however you can.
It’s part of being human. It’s part of being alive.