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A Storm is Comin'

Tropical storm Henri is predicted to make landfall later today, predictions vacillating between tropical storm and hurricane depending on it's pathway. My brain and body buzz between excitement and worry upon hearing this news. Part of me cannot help but feel whatever that nostalgic, childlike feeling is of the potential for school to be cancelled due to a snowstorm. Visions of using lanterns and playing board games, the world forced to a standstill and hunkering down with my family play in my mind. Charge the crystals (!) the pagan in me shouts. A memory of Hurricane Bob floats through my brain, where my friend from a few streets down braved the wind for a bit, and we pretended to be newscasters, narrating the storm as it happened by candlelight.


Then a little worry creeps in. Wildlife! This is still nesting season in New England, and tiny 12gram songbirds and months old bats, just fledged raptors and uncoordinated beavers are learning new skills, or still dependent on their parents and the nests that their parents have made in the elements. This is also the start of migrating season for others, and I think about the wayward gulls, gannets, and dovekies that might arrive at work next week. Certainly built for storms, but when they are dealing with a scarcity of fish, old wounds from boating run-ins or ingestion of lead sinkers, they are that much more likely to be blown off course. We make sure everything is buttoned down at work so the patients and ambassadors in our charge can be safe.


Inevitably, the thought of humans facing the storm creeps in as well. Ugh, what a disaster we've made. The second homes, built with unlimited resources and replacing the dunes with cement, and ultimately the ones that have altered the habitat and nature's ability to balance flooding conditions through interconnections of dunes and rope strength grasses, wetlands and estuaries, will be fine. But those at the poverty level and under will inevitably suffer the environmental burden, and the cycle of FEMA funding, tragedy and rescue efforts will ensue.


But part of the hope that stays inside of me is inspired by the awesome power that Mother Earth flexes during these storms. It always feels a little counterintuitive for me to feel this way, as I am one of the humans that is a guest on this earth. But it just always feels reassuring that if Mother Earth has had enough, she can absolutely wield her power and balance everything once again. What that looks like for humans, I do not know. But for now, I remain humbled. We're playing outside on the swings, and I smile as my children close their eyes and feel the caress of the wind. I share proudly how our home is over 200 years old, is built very sturdy and has withstood many New England storms. We talk about tropical storms, how we might lose power, and how its important to make choices that are gentle on the earth, so that we can continue to live here. And I allow myself to experience the storm in the present and with my children, looking forward to some perhaps aptly-titled-for-these-times games of "Don't Break the Ice", and "Trouble".


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