Love and A Hurricane

There’s an example of all that is good buzzing at the end of our block. It’s a home being re-built. My friend Judith lost half her house from the wind. It was the only victim of Hurricane Irma in our neighborhood. Her oak tree, with hundreds of rings, gave in to one of the last gusts of the storm. It was a stately oak that had a checkup every year.

I visited Judith two days after the storm. We perched in her living room among boxes and a dozen pieces of ceramics excavated from her yard. They sat like lost children on dusty tables throughout the room. Reflecting on the damage, we agreed that the assault was like a death in the family. Her home of 50 years was missing half its body. On the second floor, for all to see, was a dresser set against the single remaining wall.

I wondered what it all meant. What was the theme of this wreck? Then I realized was is love expressed in the way people came together to help them.

The day after the storm neighbors and friends flocked to her house with food and muscle. When I visited Judith, we stood at her front door, surveying the debris and the action outside. The felled wide trunk of the oak was all across the yard. Men were chain sawing and hauling and racking. Out of the blue she said, “I’ve fallen in love with Billy.” It was the golden moment where she shared deep gratitude and affection straight from her heart. Judith’s words were a grace note I’ll never forget.