posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 10:06 PM
When I was 18, Hurricane Isabel hit the Outer Banks. By the time its winds reached us, it was on the high end of tropical-storm force. I'd never
been through a hurricane since Hugo as a baby, and it was an interesting experience. I say interesting because it was really a combination of
terrifying and informative and I currently can't think of a word that encompasses both of those.
You always get the threat of hurricanes living on the East Coast, but everyone just thinks, "Yea, but it will turn at the last second. They all do,
no big deal." Even so, we all had 'hurricane kits.' These really just consisted of a bunch of canned food, some bleach to clean the water with,
making sure we had extra propane and batteries for the radio and flash lights. We never expected what we got, and it wasn't even that bad compared
to most tropical entities.
Everything was fine.. wind, rain, things we had dealt with before.. but then the phone rang. It was our long-time neighbor who said, "It looks like
the tree is about to go, you might want to get out." As soon as my mom hung up, I snatched up my 2 year old niece and ran to the other end of the
house. About half the family followed me.. but my brother and father ran to the front door and watched the tree. There was a circle around the base,
where the ground had become so saturated that the wind was moving EVERTHING.. straight down to the roots. And then they both yelled "Oh !%#$," and
came running down the hall. I honestly thought it was over. I really did, But there was a soft thud, and then just the sound of the wind and rain.
After we found the tree lying on our front lawn, I burst into tears. I just sat there and cried, because all of those emotions hit me at once. The
tree was massive and ancient, and it had missed everything. The house was fine, our vehicles were fine. It had only bent a piece of the gutter.
Luck was an understatement.
When everthing was said and done, we were lucky as hell. The power was out in the entire area for a week or more, but atleast we had a house to live
in. I got into a fist-fight for ice at the Winn-Dixie, just to keep milk for my baby niece cold. People were siphoning gas out of the tanks of cars
for sale. Prices shot up to $5 a gallon regular, but everyone suddenly became pro drivers.. considerate, even. There was no ice, no bread, no canned
goods, no chain saws... but your neighbors were your best friends. They shared food and supplies, eveyone woke and slept with the movement of the sun
and you didn't really worry about crime in your own home. I guess that would have came had it continued, but for just then.. everything seemed to be
as it should have been.
After everything went back to normal, I found myself hoping for that feeling of community again.... It never came back. I liked to wake at sunrise.
I loved my neighbors for more than their pretty lawn and cute dogs. While I wish a hurricane and such hardship on no-one, I think that there is a lot
to be learned from situations like this. And I hope that it doesn't always take such an occurance for people to realize it.