Anyone who has ever lived through a major hurricane knows about the eye of the storm. The eye is beautiful, alluring, and extremely dangerous, like some tempestuous relationships. If you don’t understand where you are, the eye will fool you. You will think the preternatural calm, the blue sky, signal the storm is over, that you are safe. And then, with no time to escape, a wall of wind and water from the back side of the storm will rise up like hell and death itself. You will run, swim, cling to a rooftop, scream and go mad for a time. If you survive the roar, the wave, the snakes in the water, the smell of decay, and the fear of your own death, and if you are very lucky, a morning will come when you will feel the soft feathers of a dove on your shoulder bearing an olive branch in her mouth. Coax it to stay with you, ma chère. It might be a sign that your life has been handed back to you; that you have a fresh start. Evangeline Tibbedeaux Harper, from The Mapmaker, a novel-in-progress by Elizabeth Westmark (This passage was written several years ago when I was thinking about Hurricane Ivan that hit Pensacola in 2004. In The Mapmaker, Evangeline is a Hurricane Katrina survivor.)For the survivors of Hurricane Michael in those hardest-hit areas, it will be a long time before they are able to see that dove, to grasp that olive branch, to feel that a fresh start is possible.
A stunning sunset in unscathed Pensacola can’t erase the destruction and suffering being visited upon our neighbors to the east and northeast by Hurricane Michael. Buck and I had just finished a comfort food supper when I saw it, grabbed my camera and raced upstairs and out to the second floor terrace to snap the moment before it was gone.
I covered up so much of the pages on my daybook with pictures and ink that there wasn’t much space left for notes, so I decided to try adding a blank insert. It was simple to do and turned out well.
The paper is from an old stack of ivory executive-size second sheets. I tore one in half, folded it to make a seam for glue, and stuck it in between the pages for October 10 and October 11. I added a rub-on stamp to the front along with some hickory smoke distress ink and have filled up the two inside pages with writing, saving the back for tomorrow! The old stationery has a lovely feel to it.
Hurricane Michael, a most unwelcome late-season guest, will be making landfall somewhere between Destin and Panama City Beach in a few hours. Our inland location near Pensacola in Escambia County, Florida has been downgraded to Tropical Storm alert status. It is our friends and family to the east who are in great jeopardy for loss of life, property and infrastructure damage.
Apalachicola is a quaint, lovely small riverfront fishing village. It hasn’t seen a bad hurricane in this century. Buck and I met for a reunion with my brother who lives in Apalachicola and my other brother who lives in Lakeland back in October, 2015. Some photos, below.
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