Let not a flood of waters overflow me,As Tropical Storm Wilma gathers strength in the Caribbean and takes aim at -- of course -- the U.S. Gulf Coast, it's starting to feel a little like a slasher movie. This monster just won't die.
Nor let the deep swallow me up,
Nor let the pit shut her mouth upon me.
At the moment, anything is possible once Wilma slithers into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. She could skulk toward Texas or sneak up on the Florida Panhandle ... or just slice head-on into the soft underbelly of Gulf Coast at New Orleans and Mississippi, again.
When I first came to Southeast Texas, people were surprisingly sanguine about the threat of hurricanes. Maybe it's because it had been almost 20 years since a hurricane hit here. They oozed a certain resignation to the inevitability of a catastrophe, saying such things as "That's what insurance is for" and "It's only a house." Indeed, now that Rita has slit us from crotch to collarbone, my neighbors (some of whom are not even insured) simply set themselves to the task of rebuilding and restoring their homes and their lives the best they can. TV shines its light on a few people whining that FEMA and the Red Cross and the church on the corner and the people who sell groceries and all the ships at sea have somehow betrayed them, but for the most part, I see people making their own remedies.
But I wonder, as we closely watch the prowling Wilma, if anyone is still as sanguine. As I picked up some broken shingles, glass shards and fallen branches in my backyard this morning, I wondered: Should I just leave them until Wilma passes ... or maybe longer, until after the hurricane season has gone into hibernation at the end of November? Should I just leave the fences on the ground rather than replace a brand-new fence after the next storm? Or should I simply surrender -- like my friends and neighbors -- to the inevitability of hurricanes and deductibles and turbulence of all kinds ... and live as well as possible in between?
Aw, hell, it's only a house.