Sunbelt Sunrise
The sun pushes through the mist at the sunbelt Expo.

People emerged

It was a storm with a person’s name, but it wasn’t a person.

The day after, people emerged — and they looked in wonder, or horror, at something that had never happened before. Not like this. 

From the Florida Panhandle, up through southwest Georgia, on to the Carolinas, Hurricane Michael took lives, changed others, and left a mark that will linger for a generation or longer.

Neighbors checked on neighbors. Chainsaws immediately buzzed, and blocked roads, driveways, and doors were cleared. In other places, people cried, people hugged. There was nothing else they could do. Where to start? You can’t clean up something not there anymore.

The list of missing grows agonizingly longer. Damage to property is astounding. National Guard and famous aid organizations drive through neighborhoods and out into the counties. There’s no electricity, no running water, no internet, and no mobile signal. Communication is broken down to hollers, neighborly discussions, and handshakes. “What have you heard? You know of any gas anywhere? Ice?”

People feel lucky, and people feel devastated — they feel both. But things are getting better.

It is unbelievable how many pecan trees are down, how much cotton is blown away, how many barns, shops, poultry houses, grain bins, and vegetables lay twisted, and buying points out of commission. How many homes? Who knows? And that’s just the visible ruin.

National leaders visit. The top ones. I’m not going down the rabbit hole of politics on this, but whatever your political species, if nothing else, people right now need to hear people of influence says words like “full support,” and “we’re here and we’ll stand with you.”

I don’t like personifying storms. It was a storm with a person’s name, but it wasn’t a person. I wish they’d stop giving storms names like that. Wish they would call them Hurricane A or B, or Foxtrot, or Toot, or anything other than a name better used for a person.

This storm stomped and stopped things around here. But it didn’t halt everything. It fueled and nurtured an important something too often overlooked, too often taken for granted until you realize how important that thing is.

A person reached down to help a person up. A person reached up to grab a proffered strong hand. A person got up, looked around, and pulled another person up. The storm didn’t blow that away.

We’ve done our best to get information out on what the storm did, and where we go from here, and I’ll tell you I’m blessed to work with the best, most generous, and caring professionals in this business. We plan now to move forward with telling the story of recovery. We’ll be visiting with folks to see how things are going. If you have anything to say, we’d like to listen. It doesn’t have to be for print or publication. Just a talk. We’ll be here. This is where we live.

Good luck. Take care, and thanks for reading.

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