Hurricane Ike has stomped on us and gone. Our little Gulf Coast, with its brown sand and tar and small dunes and grainy water, is smashed, reeling. Coastal communities–the places we in Houston jumped in a car to go down to so we could eat shrimp or walk barefoot in the waves or sit and watch gulls–are devastated. Kemah, Surfside, Port Boliver, Crystal Beach, Gilchrist, Seabrook, and the big island, once the grandest city in Texas, Galveston.
Houston will rebuild. We’re big, we’re well to do, we’re not on the coast. We lost power, roofs, some of our precious trees, but we were lucky. Ike just spit at us as he blew down or drowned the coast. It was frightening to sit through a night of howling, high wind, and rain, but we didn’t flood. I didn’t lose a single of my eight big trees. But again, Ike’s winds were a 2. A category 3 or 4, and Houston will hurt as much as the coast is. I drank coffee on a neighbor’s front porch, ate tuna sandwiches in another’s gazebo. Without power, everyone walked. We said hello. We helped clean up debris. We loaned and borrowed. We sweated, got tired of the dark, missed news and internet, but we are ok.
There’s a fatigue that sets in after a hurricane; from the anxiety of preparing or evacuating, from the trauma of just living through it, from the major clean up afterwards, from heat and doing without. But Houston can rebuild. We can clean up. We can power back, while our littler, sister communities have massive problems. It won’t be the same for them anymore. Some places are gone forever.
Cherry red hurricane lilies bloomed this week, and they withered this week, too.