Lessons from a Hurricane

raindrops on David Austin English Rose, "Mary Rose" in my garden
raindrops on David Austin English Rose, “Mary Rose” in my garden

What can we learn from a hurricane?  Without all the scientific instruments, how would we know that a big, bad storm was coming? What signs could we look for?

My mother and I took note of the changes in the atmosphere and the behavior of the animals in the few days leading up to the hurricane.

We took note because animals often know what will happen before us preoccupied and distracted humans. All we had to do was pay attention.

Things we noticed even 2-3 days before the storm

  • the air pressure was so low, it felt as if the air was “bearing down” on us
  • the air was very humid and heavy
  • the air held odors and smelt bad
  • routine tasks tired us out
  • overall animals were quiet
  • insects stayed low to the ground, many insects were just sitting on plant leaves or household surfaces
  • birds weren’t flying much
  • birds were very quiet, I heard no singing and very little calling 2-3 days before the storm
  • squirrels were quiet
  • we didn’t notice any butterflies in flight
swiss chard beaten down by hurricane rains in my garden
swiss chard beaten down by hurricane rains in my garden

Some other things to consider

A hurricane is a low-pressure storm system fueled by heat and moisture. Hurricanes are most likely to form when ocean temperatures are at least 80°F (27°C). Climate change could bring more frequent and violent storms because of the raising temperatures of the oceans.

Hurricane season in the northern hemisphere runs June through November. Peak hurricane season is two months after the summer solstice which is June 21st or 22nd in Northern hemisphere. So, when the solstice rolls around each year, look out for signs of coming storms.

over eight inches of water in the rain gauge
over eight inches of water in the rain gauge

Relief after the storm

I think the most important lesson is to simply pay attention, every moment, of every day, to our surroundings. Then you know what is normal and what is not. It is what is different and usual that tells us something is amiss.

The air was so heavy and the anticipation was so great before the storm, I just wanted the whole thing over.

Today, high winds, cooler air and higher air pressure are a welcome relief after the oppressiveness of the last few days. It is still lightly raining but the air is cool. Strong breezes blow the gauzy curtains of my bedroom windows and my family is safe.  I am happy now.

raindrops on a flower after a hurricane
raindrops on a flower after a hurricane

I think the idea of being “disconnected’ from nature is a lie we tell ourselves to dream that the condition is even possible. It isn’t.

For all our technology, ideologies and philosophies, we are still here, on planet Earth. And the Earth is the single most important aspect of our lives.

Big city or small town, the sky is still above us. We can still watch the movement of the moon, the patterns of the clouds and the wind direction from the swaying of trees. The Earth is still beneath our feet. And water still nourishes our bodies even if it is the form or coffee or beer.

You can still have wisdom about the land and the way the Earth works even in the concrete and asphalt plains of the city. Let us love our Mother.

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