American Elephants

Hurricane Ian by The Elephant's Child
October 5, 2022, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Politics

Probably everyone with a computer is scrolling through the posts about Hurricane Ian and the incredible damage in Florida. It’s hard for the rest of us who live far away from the possibility of hurricane damage to grasp the results. In Washington State we’re familiar with earthquakes, rainstorms, forest fires and even minor volcano eruptions but that is something entirely different. Different regions, of course, have different natural threats, but it’s weird to see all the damage from a threat completely unknown to us. We are of course deeply sympathetic, but the pictures are like something from another world. People all over the country may be altering their plans to retire in Florida. Big Yachts deposited in the front yard of a home a significant distance from the ocean! Who knew? I suppose the Floridians are similarly astonished by photos of major snowstorms in the northern states, or perhaps that’s why they moved to Florida in the first place.

Where I grew up, we had our own snowplow on our truck, and kept ourselves from being “snowed in” promptly after any significant snowfall. But should we have been “snowed in” by either a major snowstorm or major slides by cliffs between us and town, we were well prepared anyway. Some neighbors a mile or two down the road depended on our little snowplow as well, but they would have been prepared for the eventuality that we wouldn’t arrive to plow, as we were prepared for a long wait for the county snowplows. Makes you appreciate the vagaries of the weather and the locale. Our road had been the main highway for many years, but the Highway Department found that a cut across a ridge would shorten the North-South highway significantly, and we came to live on a “side road.” Hard to tell from the photos of Hurricane Ian damage the extent to which some Floridians had protected themselves and the extent to which protection was futile.

We’ve had smoky air recently from forest fires somewhere in the Cascade Range, but there isn’t really anything one can do about that except keep the windows closed for a while. And it’s very mild in any case. I grew up with major snowstorms, 5 feet on the level was not unusual, but if you take care of each snowstorm immediately it’s no big deal. However, moving to Florida has never been the remotest option. If you live in New York City, retiring by a sunny ocean beach may have more appeal. But it is different world now with television to check out the rest of the world to be significantly more informed. It’s a much smaller world in a way than it used to be. Being visually and verbally instantly connected to the rest of the world increases our options in every way.

Will our grandchildren be getting weather reports from Mars? How will their world differ from what we know as reality? Cast your mind back to the time when it took months to get a letter from the East Coast to the California coast. I had some unknown ancestor who arrived on the Mayflower, and how vastly different his world, as he knew it, was. And we are totally ignorant of the world as our grandchildren and great=grandchildren will know it.

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