A beloved house of worship (and local landmark) was razed to make way for townhomes that will sit uncomfortably close to one another in between the north and south bound highways. Not just the landscape of an island was changed, but the heart as well. Yes, we were (and are) stronger than the storm, but we are not the same. Those who were able to return (and there were many who could not) are STILL hurting. The "new" folk don't get "it". (How could they?) What once was in no more...
But on the "anniversary," I am reminded that it's not just about Sandy and the NJ shore. I think of the people who are still hurting in Louisiana from Katrina (2005) and Puerto Rico from Maria (2017), just to name two. I think of the fires that wiped out the town of Paradise, California and the fires that today threaten communities in California. (I am especially thinking of my cousin and his wife who just moved and now may have to be evacuated.) I think of the tornado that just last week tore through Dallas. All of these events happen so quickly, but the devastation lasts for DECADES.
Natural disasters are part of life. There is nothing we can do to stop them. But what we CAN do is be aware. We can be smart when we rebuild. We can be prepared for emergencies. (Even though we might not want to face it, we KNOW that they ARE going to happen. This is not an exclusive club: NO ONE is exempt.) And we CAN take better care of our environment. Anyone else besides me remember the 1970s commercial with the tagline "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature?" Isn't it time we treated Mother Nature with a little kindness? (Perhaps then she wouldn't be so irritable?)
It's doesn't have to be extreme. (Although there's nothing wrong with replanting a forest!) A simple reduce, reuse, recycle are steps in the right direction. With small steps we can eventually make great strides. (Of course with bigger steps we can make even greater strides and hopefully do so in a timelier manner.)
It's doesn't matter who we are, where we live, or what we believe. We need to nurture nature. Care of it, as it cares for us. (Think about it; it DOES.)
And on this anniversary, let's care for one another. It doesn't matter how; it just matters that we care.