It took me some time to work up to writing about this.
Our GPS wanted to take us to Panacea Florida via Bainbridge and Tallahassee. I hate driving in cities and so with some effort we reprogrammed our trip through Marianna. It was so lovely to hit Florida and stop in at the welcome centre and get our free cup of citrus juice.
We had deliberately decided to not to travel along the coast because of Hurricane Michael. I had no desire to see the wreckage the monster storm had left, especially so soon after the trauma of an EF4 tornado traveling through Alonsa. Michael was a category 4 hurricane and so that meant EF4 tornado damage for miles and miles. I not only didn’t want that reminder, I didn’t want to be a tourist sightseeing through the wreckage of people’s life. Somehow, even though I knew the hurricane had hit Marianna, it hadn’t actually registered in my brain that this route meant we were going into some of the worst damage that Michael wrought.
My husband took pictures. I felt awful watching him doing it. Miles and miles and miles of people’s lives in wreckage. The blue tarps on house after house over horrific damage. Trees shattered and ruined for three hours of our drive. It made the misery of our EF4 tornado seem small and unimportant by comparison and yet I knew the fear, pain and horror we experienced in Alonsa was real and all the people whose houses we were passing had simply shared the same thing with us.
I am so very very sorry. I wish it were possible to gather up everyone who suffered, both in Florida and Alonsa and give them a big hug and then wave a magic wand and make the damage go away. My heart aches for you.
I will say this though. Everywhere I looked people were rebuilding. The place was crawling with clean up crews, and signs of recovery. Hurricanes and tornados can smash up things but in the end humanity prevails and we carry on. Looking around as people were putting things back together I felt a great warmth and affection for my fellow human beings. I also thought again that this is why the USA will never be defeated by an external enemy like Al Qaeda. Mother Nature gives Americans a healthy dose of reality on such a regular basis that they are always prepared and after the wind is gone, they are out cleaning up and rebuilding. I found myself humming that old Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty song.
God bless America again.
You see all the troubles that she’s in
Wash her pretty face, dry her eyes and then
God bless America again