Today my thoughts are with all of my family and friends in Florida. Hurricane Matthew is barreling their way. As of right now it is a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds. It is expected to strengthen some before it reaches Florida. When I look at forecasted lines I see potentials for landfall from Palm Beach up through Vero Beach. We moved to Virginia from a town right in between, Seawalls Point. We have friends all along there, Stuart, and Jensen Beach. We also lived in Okeechobee for 2 years before that. We have friends there under warnings. I am also concerned for those devastated by the storm in Haiti and those dealing with it in the Bahamas.
My Thursday door today (check out Norm 2.0 for other amazing doors) is from our home when we lived in Naples, Florida. We had that home built in 1999 and moved in when I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. We grew our family in that home until we left Naples in 2008.
The photo of the door was taken after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Wilma came ashore just south of Naples in Cape Romano with 120 mph winds. Prior to that it had reached a Category 5. Wilma was the twenty-second storm, thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, fourth Category 5 hurricane, and second-most destructive hurricane of the 2005 season.
You can see all the dirt and debris that had blown against the home. The hurricane codes had been increased after Andrew (which I lived in Naples for as well) so our house held up well.
I don’t have any magnificent photos that capture what it’s like when a band comes through. These pine trees are native. They are made to withstand the winds. The air changes and becomes eerie and clear. There is a palpable shift in the pressure and then the wind whooshes through the trees on one side of you and then continues outward and around until it is on the other side and then behind you.
I love this feeling. It lifts my soul and makes me feel alive. I don’t know if it is the Florida in my veins or some deeper ancestral feeling. We have had one such storm with the palpable change and circular wind while I’ve lived in Virginia. It was on a small scale so I just stood outside and breathed in home. But hurricanes can also be devastating and scary.
While native plants can withstand most hurricanes, the pine tree in this photo did not. That is because it stood alone. In my desire to take out the least amount of trees necessary to build our home, I left this beautiful, tall specimen. I also left the cypress tree that you can almost make out to the right. The problem for this pine was that he took the entire brunt of the storm
I think we could all learn some lessons about the need for community and friendship right there.
For us the tree was the part we never imagined when riding out the storm. I have been through plenty of tropical storms and hurricanes that have passed nearby (Charlie, Sandy…probably some others). The realization that had the tree broke the other way and landed on the roof was a little overwhelming. This front window was my daughter’s room and the back corner was the boy’s room. We decided in that moment that we wouldn’t ride out a strong hurricane again.
This is what my children remember about the storm. That and that their dad made them some floating thing out of wood (I can’t remember this and am guessing it was just a piece of plywood). They don’t remember any moment of being frightened (I don’t think they ever were). They don’t remember the weeks of cleaning up the yard or replacing torn soffits and fascia. They don’t remember the fence panel surrounding the water system that blew across the yard. They don’t even remember that after three days of no electricity and water (we were on a well system, which requires electricity), I packed up the kids, my mom, and sister-in-law and went to our cabin in Georgia until the power came back (poor hubby had to go back to work, taking showers in our RV since it had a tank of water).
Floridians have been weathering storms for generations. They are a resilient bunch, but they are deeply in my prayers today as I watch the news. They are in my thoughts as I feel strangely surreal in a store that is not packed with people clamoring for bread and water. Oddly out of place that the lines at the gas station haven’t increased. I miss my home today and I hope it weathers well.
Let your light shine!
*all photos on this page are copyright of Amy Lyon Smith