Wilma's Shock and Awe

Thursday, October 27, 2005 12:04 PM

Without electrical power, you are already half-way back to the Middle Ages, since almost everything now depends upon it, including putting gasoline into your car. For 3 days I've been without power due to hurricane Wilma. (Lights went back on late last night.) The rising and setting of the sun become more significant.

You sit in the dark, eating something out of a can by candlelight, with a battery-operated radio the only connection to the world outside your beat-up encampment. It is hot and windless. Everything in the vicinity is a wreck. How can nature be so unnatural? You wonder.

Glancing down from a second-story unshuttered window at the height of the storm it was hard to comprehend what perverse law of nature required that a gust of wind be propelled in a direct path at such tremendous speed over several minutes without letup. Like an express freight train in a straight-away. Unstoppable. Luckily, the wind was running parallel to the window, not against it.

The next thing,  in an instant a river of bay water filled with dirt, tree limbs, bushes and lumber from destroyed docks is rushing down the side street. The seawall has cracked and snapped like a broken pencil, flooding the surrounding streets. Is this what they call “global warming”--or simply the way it has always been over the centuries? Either way, we are powerless. That is the lesson.