Our Days After Hurricane Sandy
In the aftermath of Sandy, we ventured out into the streets of my small New Jersey neighborhood, scared and exhausted from the night’s events, only to realize that we are the lucky ones.
Trees on houses have left them completely destroyed. People standing outside looking at the destruction finding comfort in neighbors and strangers passing by trying to figure out what to do next.
With no gasoline stations able to provide gas, most of us are left stranded or finding refuge in the homes of friends nearby.
Complete electrical pools, electrical boxes and lines are on the street, the explosions of which lit up the sky with light green and blue/white flashes as Sandy hit us.
But still, we are the lucky ones. Our neighborhood experienced very little rain, few of us saw the level of flooding experienced in the coastal towns and cities. Businesses in both the villages near us are open and providing electrical access to those needing to power up their phones. We have not experienced disruption in our phone signals, though have no idea when we will have electricity or access to trains.
Buses are slowly starting to function and providing commuters access to Manhattan and other areas so that they can get to and from work – if where they work is open for business – as well as family and friends.
There is a cloud of sadness in the air. We are sad for those who have lost someone, or have been injured. I think of all those less fortunate who are mourning a loved one or friend and are in need of food and shelter.
For a lot of us unable to move or escape it, we are left reaching out to our neighbor with support with words or effort. The amount of messages I have received from my own neighbors and friends has been incredibly touching and I am so grateful, though I know I am one of those who least needs it. With no family nearby, we are always happy to accept the love and support of others.
My children have once again astounded me. Their resilience and happy spirits, their ability to feel compassion for others and reflect on their own good fortune, their incredible ability to laugh and smile and express love and gratitude for the day we spend with them, even though our house is cold and dark, even though we move around during the day in search of warmer shelter and access to communication – they are just happy to be here, with us.
Everything else has taken a back seat – though I am still holding on to my trip to Los Angeles for my baby brother’s wedding, because despite it all, life goes on, we must go on with a deeper sense of appreciation for the chances we are given to do so. I have always been thankful for my life and for my family, but it’s moments like these that serve to really reinforce how wonderful they are, and to show me how great people in general can be.
Often times when one’s work is not so much in the “real space” but online, one can become disconnected and even easily consumed with the negative. I have often found refuge from it all in sporadic moments away, with my family and friends and through travel. Being home now for 5 days with no electricity or easy access to the online world I am overwhelmed with how great reconnecting with the people around me – even those I often saw but never really knew – can be.
My heart goes out to all those seriously affected by the hurricane. So much devastation, both in our coasts as well as internationally. So many lives lost.
Well wishes to all those in the thick of it still. I hope a better sense of normalcy, healing, and closure reaches us all soon. Even for those of us where “normal” might come sooner than later, I doubt that “things as they were” would ever be an option.
In a week I hope to be in California celebrating a happier occasion with my family completely aware of the fact that those are the moments life and living are all about.
These images are but a glimpse of our immediate surroundings. Other areas of the neighborhood are worse, and other areas of both NY and NJ are far, far worse.