Hurricane Irma
18 September

Hurricane Irma

To say the past year has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I have not written a blog post since February, with plenty of good reason. However, each time I sit down to write, I feel overwhelmed with a feeling of obligation to give all of the reasons and cram the whole year into one blog post, but then it would end up being a book and I am definitely not ready to write a book…yet. In the big picture, it’s not impossible, but it’s not going to happen right now.

I may or may not get around to the details of the past year. But for now, I have to return to the missing part of my life and get back to writing something every day. Whether I make it public or not, it’s time for me to write again. 

On Thursday, I drove twelve hours from Virginia to Georgia, returning home after a week away. Eight days before, Hurricane Irma set her site on Tybee and we didn’t stick around to wait for her uninvited arrival. We packed up the apartment as best we could. Black plastic bags stuffed and tied with furniture cushions, clothes and anything else we thought we could try to save from floating out to sea. The most important things we packed in our cars to take with us. It’s still pretty amazing to me that we can fit our whole life into two vehicles. Just about everything we need to start over; a bag of clothes, a box of hard drives, computers, cameras, and a mandolin. Clothes to wear and our tools to make a living. Other than our family, what else do we really need? That was our mindset as we locked the door behind us.

Sadness overwhelmed me as I drove over the Lazaretto creek bridge. Imagining that it could be the last time, ever. The thoughts of losing what was in the apartment was not heavy on me, but the thoughts of losing our beloved community and the life we have made here, that was terrifying. I wasn’t ready for this part of our life to be over. Our minds were plagued with these same thoughts less than one year ago when we were vacationing in Costa Rica. Hurricane Matthew was headed straight for our slice of paradise we called home. We were already familiar with our conversation of “what if…?” As much as we didn’t want to, we had to come to terms with answers to that question. 

For the last week, we visited family and friends in Virginia. Laughing, cooking, cleaning, eating, visiting…all while the TV continued to blurt out minute to minute updates as to where this unprecedented monster storm was going to make landfall. Refreshing our phones for Facebook updates and bits of information with hopes to see if our island would be spared…again. 

Over the past year I learned to breathe. Not breathing for survival, but breathing to live. I forced myself to slow down again this past week. Breathe in. Breathe out. Again, but slower. B r e a t h e I n . . . B r e a t h e Ou t . . . I accepted this week as a gift. A gift of time with my family. It was a gift to cook for them. To have meals together. To run errands with my mom. I took time to sleep and to rest. Something my body needs more of to restore and heal. (More on all of that in another post) 

On Monday we watched videos from our phones, as the ocean tides rushed in breaching the dunes of Tybee. Filling the marshes and every little crevice of our island. We cried as we watched our friends’ homes become invaded with several feet of saltwater and mud. Many of these people just recently recovered from damage from last year. 

As horrible as it was to watch, we still let out a sigh of relief, knowing that the water will recede. The sun will eventually come out and dry up the soggy mess. The people of Tybee will draw in closer and band together. They’ll roll up their sleeves, clean up the mess and rebuild. Tybee will recover and heal, because that’s what she does.

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