Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Sept. 20, 2006)
Preparing for the worst taking time for the
The morning sun is shafting across the desk and easel lifting my spirits from the
dreariness of the last few days of heavy rain. Lucia, the Amazon parrot, has eaten
her banana and is now preening her misted wings in the warmth of welcome sun
|Photo by Karen Mitchell Tremmel
|After Hurricane Charlie
devastated their home, children wait by the roadside for rescue
workers to deliver water and food.
Blue jays are fussing in the treetop canopy outside the studio window, while
Carolina wrens and chickadees flit about, as if buzzing bees from feeder to feeder,
bird bath to bird bath. Downy and red-bellied woodpeckers scour the trunks of the
massive oak trees for breakfast. The sound of all this activity is truly
The recent rains have brought needed nourishment to the landscape. The ferns and
elephant leaf plants seem to have multiplied overnight. Staghorn ferns are draping
over the sides of their hanging pots, bromeliads are blooming with bright red
spikes as are the vinca, lantana, crape-myrtle, scarlet bush, butterfly weed,
lilies and so on. The garden is alive.
Its hard to believe that in some parts of the country people are already
receiving snow. No sign of that here. Although, September and October can be two of
the harshest months in Florida, these months can also be the most overwhelmingly
beautiful. Florida is a place of extreme duality. The key to enjoying the best with
the worst is being prepared for the worst so minimizing its power.
I lived in Canada for more than 20 years. In the rural parts of Canada residents
can become stranded during and after a storm without electricity or access to the
outside world until emergency crews are able to clear the roads. This can take some
time, especially if one storm follows another. You wouldnt be very popular in
those parts of the country if you were the one hiking to the neighbors home
begging for handouts because you chose not to be prepared.
Our apathy toward hurricanes and storms in Florida is best described with the
attitude, Maybe it wont come here, a little farther south or north,
please. For many other residents the motto is, Well take our
chances. Unfortunately these are the very same people that rescue workers are
forced to risk their lives to save.
It is reasonable to assume that at least one storm will strike Florida this
season. The variable is location and how serious. There is no crystal ball and no
advanced technology or clairvoyant weather person who can precisely predict that
So tell me, why do some Floridians run around at the last minute like chickens
with their heads cut off as a storm is bearing down on them? Well take
As a reporter, I visited the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. I witnessed firsthand
devastation. No amount of preparing could have helped some of those residents or
their homes. With that said, those that did prepare on the fringes of the direct
hit of the storm faired much better than those that didnt. We drove down back
roads handing out water, baby wipes, work gloves, canned food and bags of ice.
Children with outstretched hands lined those roads waiting for rescue trucks, as
their parents feverishly worked in the background trying to make sense of it all.
It was indescribable. I felt as if I was in a foreign country, a battle ground. A
sense of disorientation came over me. No words could ever portray those visions.
After each day, I came home to my warm bed, tea kettle and toaster dazed but with
growing determination to do my best so my children wouldnt find themselves in
similar predicaments, if at all possible and the power is within me.
Now is the time to check your pantry. Is it filled with enough food and water for
each person in your household to last at least seven days, as well, batteries,
first aid kit, medicines, blankets, rain wear, sturdy shoes? Florida State
Emergency Response Team recommends:
Water at least 1 gallon daily per person for three to seven
Food at least enough for three to seven days: Nonperishable packaged
or canned food/juices, foods for infants or the elderly, Snack foods.
Nonelectric can opener, Cooking tools/fuel, paper plates/plastic
Valuable Citizen Emergency information can be obtained at the SERT Web site, www.floridadisaster.org/supplykit.htm.
The cicadas are singing a warm summer song in the oaks. A mourning dove is cooing
next to her mate. Sun dapples the landscape in pastoral peace, accepting the
duality of life while preparing with peace of mind
back to nature.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.