Feeling a nameless, helpless compassion, for millions of human beings, today. In my little corner of Texas, on August 3, 1970 came hurricane Celia, to the area of Corpus Christi. I remember it very well. I was, what, twelve, and it was, ‘memorable’, shall we say. Oh, okay, it was scary as shit, (as we say,) ‘there’s no two ways, about it’.
I saw things you would not believe: roofs being torn from houses, crashing into the roofs of my friend’s houses, and whipped-to-bits, in mid-air.
When the ‘eye’, passed over our house, we all came outside, the neighbors, all around us, even those we never talked to. “Are you okay?” was the most of it, everything was bent, none of us could fathom it. Believe me, we were talking, then. And then, the ‘eye’, moved away, and, with a fury, the horror came back. (Imagine having a 747 with it’s engines at full, blowing over your house.) Shrieks, framework bending, racking, shifting, seemingly, deciding your fate, second by second, and that second, seemed to last forever. Things broke, with a BANG!! but you couldn’t tell, from where. If you looked out your window, things that could not possibly fly, were flying out there.
(I’ll spare you the blood, and near-death, as things, as normal, can be trying enough, but, there was that, and heroism, and tragedy.) Let’s just say, it finally ended. With no water, or electricity, or passable roads, and salt-water, dripping from everywhere. Our house remained, but next street over, all over, were former addresses, where neighbors once lived, with nothing to show but a flat concrete slab, and here and there, astonishingly, something like, untouched, a phone on a chair. Spooky. Inconceivable. Incomprehensible, and yet, undeniable, as I was there.
I can feel them, today, millions of people whose lives have been changed, forever, out there. If you were to see them on the street, years from now, you’d never know what they carry inside of themselves: something of what Nature can be, (as well as beautiful,) and a not-conveyable knowledge – of scale. I’ve tried to tell people, believe me, in writer’s workshops, and in ‘acting class’, and they just shake their heads, and laugh.
“That boy, I swear.” Yeah.
But those who were there, well. We see each other in the store, and say, “hello”, and without a word, we know, that, both he, she, and me – we’ll never, can’t ever, feel big again.
Have a thought for those millions, today, if you will. Beyond that, I don’t know what to say, except that, for the survivors, I hope they’re okay.
~ Tim Burchfield