by John Fenwick, Bay County Resident, Hurricane Michael survivor

OAK TREES – some hundreds of years old towering skyward into a canopy of green. I used to look out from my desk and escape for a moment watching the wildlife go about their business seemingly unaffected by modern development. Now all but gone.

The blasting effects of Hurricane Michael’s eyewall stripped the green and toppled these towering giants. Some with a single gust and others that held fast and defiant were eventually no match for the sheer power that a Cat 5 storm produces.

It’s been three weeks now and still no power, no water, and no phones. Lucky I am. I still have a roof over my desk. Many have nothing. I take a break from the cleanup today and sit for a minute to savor the hot meal the Red Cross graciously distributed to the neighborhood. I stare out the window and despite my resistance, the reality is slowly replacing the memory.

Image by John Fenwick

The trees are now chopped up and piled in massive heaps stretching the length of the yards where they once stood. Piled so high they obscure the view of the tattered houses behind them. I watch as a couple of squirrels chase each other from the pile in my front yard. They are adapting to their new world, establishing territories, defending boundaries. I wonder, where they will go next?

In a few weeks or months, this new home will be gone too and once again they will be forced out with just the fur on their backs. If only they could anticipate what is coming, they could better survive all this.

I sit back in my chair and it occurs to me that they will simply adapt to whatever the day brings. They don’t anticipate the future but simply rely on instinct. They are not encumbered by expectations – and for a minute I question how my own expectations are actually an obstacle.

It’s clear to me now that I will better survive all of this by simply adapting to whatever the day brings. And maybe that’s just my own instincts – long-dormant but now waiting for the right moment to get me through another day.

John is the husband of Jennifer N. Fenwick, author/editor, In the Eye of the Storm and In the Aftermath of the Storm

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