Thursday, April 13, 2006

Home again

The last thing I wrote from this desk, late on Sept. 23, 2005, as Hurricane Rita closed in:
The squalls have arrived. Winds are steadily increasing, the lights flicker occasionally, rain drums an incessant bass line against the masonry skin of our building, the windows bulge with every gust, a transformer on the corner detonates in a shower of sparks ... and we're only in the tune-up. The prelude comes in a few hours, and the violent first movement a few hours after that.We have taken a head count and everyone is safe. Now that night has fallen, we can take stock and plan, to some degree, the next move. ...

We've adopted the rhythms of impending calamity, like a guy with exactly 12 minutes to live. We get a series of little shots to get this right, and each one presents a new challenge. We are one a short runway and there's no scrubbing the take-off. ...

Still, I'm not sure why we think we might deflect a 500-mile wide hurricane by throwing a scrap of paper worth 50 cents at it. Maybe it's like some many things we do in life: It just makes us feel that we did something. I'm not inclined to give it too much thought tonight. Maybe another time, after the pieces are picked up.

The lights went out in Galveston an hour ago, but they're still on here, so there's a precious moment to do one more thing. Post a blog entry. Visit one of the frightened dogs somebody bivouacked in the darkroom. Answer an e-mail from a concerned friend. Call my son in Wyoming and reassure him that we'll be OK. The hard work will be sleeping.

Rita raped our newsroom, hollowed it like a cantaloupe out with wind, rain and relentless pounding. She displaced us for exactly six months and 20 days, more than one-quarter of my life as a Texas newspaperman. The refugee experience, either in your life or your work, isn't recommended.

But today, we're back. I sit now at my old desk, in my old office -- repainted, retiled and scrubbed of waterstains and mold. I can sit at my workspace and see the outside world again. I have a proper desk, not a folding table. Moving back here won't necessarily make everything better, but it gives us a place to stand, finally, to move our little part of the world.


Chancelucky said...

Glad you're back to your old haunts, Ron. The stories are so focused on New Orleans, that I'd forgotten the other hurricane, etc.

SingingSkies said...

Wonderful news, Ron! Feels good to be 'home', doesn't it? Never quite the same, but familiar nevertheless.

The repairs to our big stained-glass window should be completed in the next few days, returning the sanctuary to something resembling normal by removing the sense of impending doom. I"m looking forward to that!

'Wilderness wandering' isn't high on my list of favorite things to do, but it certainly has been an enlightening experience. Glad you've found your place to move the world again. Here's hoping it happens soon for the rest of the Golden Triangle area.

Robert F. said...

Nice stuff Ron.

(from a home evacuee)