October 20, 2017

My apartment has a small back patio. It’s really not much, maybe an 8 by 8 concrete slab, made bigger only because the fence that separates ours from our neighbor’s came down in the storm. The fence that is still standing stands about six feet tall, nothing to look at, simply a utilitarian fence to give residents some sense of privacy.

My roommate has the patio furnished with a matching set of furniture. It’s very comfortable, and i almost feel bad that I’ve added my own folding camp chair to the decorations. Kinda necessary though. The furniture that’s there has cushions, and manage to stay wet for a couple of days after it rains. And since we seem to get rain every couple of days this time of year, well, you can do the math. Plus, where my chair is set up, it’s covered by the second floor of the apartment. So, even when it is raining, i can still sit outside and be dry.

Did that the other day. i was having a cup of coffee, and just decided I wanted to sit outside while I enjoyed it. It certainly seemed like a nice day, but that can be the deception of direction. My patio faces west, and the weather we’ve been having lately has been showing up from the east. Sure enough, within five minutes, drops began to fall, and soon we had a full on shower.

It was nice to sit and enjoy it. It took the temperature from hot and humid to warm and not, a welcome change, and as everyone knows, the sound of rain can certainly be soothing and relaxing. And, yes, like typical Key West rains, ten minutes later it was over. But I stayed outside and looked around, over the fence.

Funny how little time I look around, considering how much time I spend out there. I certainly spent a lot of time the week or so after the storm. Took that long to get power back, and with no A/C, by far out back with even a hint of a breeze was cooling than anywhere inside. Pretty sure i didn’t want to look then, mostly because I knew what i was going to see. We were far luckier than most people, when it comes to damage, but there wasn’t a tree left unscathed on the property. Many lost big limbs, most lost a lot of branches, and all of them lost all their leaves.

I’m still a seasonal kid. That’s what happens when you grow up in New England. Things bloom in the spring, thrive in the summer, wither in the autumn and slumber in the winter. Maybe it’s because I knew it was mid-September, I told myself that these trees were going to look like this for several months, and I didn’t want to face the reminder of all the destruction that Mother Nature had let loose on us. But Mother Nature, it turned out, had other plans.

After the rain I looked over the fence at the trees that line the property. Every single one of them was covered with bright, green leaves. I took the time to look around, and could see some trees had even began to sprout new limbs. Don’t get me wrong. The limbs were still tender and weak, and the trees covered in leaves were nowhere near as full as they had been two months earlier. But it was growth.

It’s easy to take any situation in life, good or bad, and dwell on it. Certainly in cases of large scale natural disaster or horrific personal tragedy, those situations can become overwhelming, masking everything else in a person’s life. But that doesn’t stop the world from moving. Life continues, and by acknowledging and accepting that, we can continue with it, moving forward, growing.

Key West will never be the same. For that matter, neither will the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Houston, Napa, Santa Rosa, you name it. Whether it gets better or worse is a matter of personal belief, but it will definitely be different. It will continue, it will grow. I’m happy to be here growing with it.


Bonus track: I was lucky enough a couple of weeks ago to see the Meyer/Kirby/Meyer show down here. Scott opened with this song, and it was a beautiful and inspirational way to start the show. I like his version, but I’m partial to the original. Today, after going to Goombay with my roommate, I’ll probably make my way to the Tiki bar, and relish the fact that I get to live here on nights like this. Click here to give it a listen.

One thought on “October 20, 2017

  1. Bob Schleicher

    And it doesn’t snow there! Any natural disaster changes things, sometimes for the better. Yellowstone Park is more beautiful and vibrant after the 1998 fires. About 40 miles from there in 2012 we had a big forest fire that almost burned us out. Now when you look at the snow covered mountains with burned trees from several miles away, it looks like a beautiful pen and ink drawing with the standing burned dead trees in contrast to the snow. It will never be the same as it was for a couple hundred years but that’s the regeneration process.

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