I am disaster weary. I have no right to be, nothing has happened to me. But Mother Nature has been a beast around the country and across the globe, so much so that I can't quite process one disaster before another occurs. Still, my heart is heavy today, heavy with the knowledge that many of my neighbors outside of New Orleans will be suffering catastrophic losses this week, suffering losses so that I might stay dry in my city. I understand it intellectually. I'm sure most do. But still, it seems so unfair.
I made the mistake this weekend of reading comments on various stories about the flooding of the Mississippi. So many who stand in judgment, deciding that those who live in disaster prone areas get exactly what's coming to them, that they'll just be another community waiting for a handout. It made me think a lot about home, the place that our heart can never quite leave, the place we feel lucky enough to inhabit.
A sense of place is so prevalent here in the South. Perhaps it's not like that everywhere, maybe I take it for granted. But I know that you can't just plant yourself anywhere in the great wide world and expect that it'll become home. Some places grab you and don't let go, places where you aren't able to tell where your body ends and the Earth begins, part of everything above and beneath you. If you had that, what wouldn't you give to keep that sacred place? I know a lot of my fellow Louisianians understand this.
My husband and I were talking about living here in New Orleans, about the possibility of losing everything and having to start over. Such conversations are commonplace for us, usually just about the time we're entering a new hurricane season. It's a reminder every year, much like the letters the Army Corps of Engineers send out to homeowners in the flood plains annually - we just want to remind you that disaster may occur, we may take away your way of life...For us, we've decided that our experiences here, our passion, outweigh the potential losses. We'll continue to take the risk.
The water gives and the water takes away. I doubt there are any that know that better than the Cajuns. They're resilient and they'll take care of each other, their families, their communities. They'll come back, they'll rebuild on the sacred ground they call home. But still, my heart is heavy on this beautiful sunny day. I am sorry for their sacrifice, so sorry, that it makes it difficult to feel relieved.