We wait. We wait to hear the latest weather forecast. We wait to hear if the hurricane will turn away from our town or toward it. We wait to hear about how bad it might be.
We know the hurricane is coming.
But questions remain. Do we need to pack a bag and get out of Dodge? Do we need to pull out the flashlights, extra batteries, and candles? Do we need to eat the ice cream that sits in the freezer before the electricity goes out?
In the two and a half decades I have lived in central North Carolina, I have seen my fair share of hurricanes and have my fair share of hurricane stories. I can regale my kids with tales from Fran, Floyd, Isabel and more. Now, my kids can tell their own stories from Matthew, Florence and Michael, and maybe now Dorian. The tradition carries on from one generation to another.
Hurricanes are more than the speed of wind gusts and storm surge. They are more than the how many people lost their power or how many dollars it will cost to rebuild. They are human experiences—how we deal with adversity, how we find a way to persevere in the most extreme circumstances.
Everyone on the southeast coast can tell their own stories. Some of them are harrowing, some are tragic. Others are tales of how human kindness comes to the forefront in times of disaster. Still more are simple tales of Monopoly games by candlelight or bunking up with friends who are fortunate to have electricity when you don’t.
No matter what kind of hurricane stories you have, they are important. They tell about human experience in times of peril, experiences both good and bad. They tell about courage and kindness, generosity of spirit, and sacrifice.
While we wait to see how this hurricane turns out, let’s take some time to remember the stories of hurricanes past. Let’s make the effort to record them – use a pen and paper, or turn on audio recording on your smart phone. Let’s add our stories to hurricane history to remember not just the power of the storm but the power of human connection and perseverance.