An Unexpected Vacation

wp_20161010_001Just the Essentials.

I have been trying to recover from my unexpected vacation (Thanks, Hurricane Matthew!) and it has been a tough week. I know that sounds crazy, who doesn’t appreciate the gift of a few days off from the daily grind. The expression, two sides to every coin, comes to mind.

First I should say I am truly blessed. My community of Charleston was largely spared significant damage. The only damage to my property was a mailbox knocked off its  post and a few items from the refrigerator to toss out. My classroom was as I left it. All my loved ones were safe and accounted for. I am thankful for all of that.

The negatives are nothing compared with what the people of Haiti or the flood victims here in the aftermath of the storm. But the stress has still taken its toll. The physical and mental exhaustion was surprising. I am a veteran of these storms. I survived Hugo, the nightmare of an evacuation from Floyd and many smaller events in the three decades I have lived here, so in the grand scheme of things, Mathew was not really a big deal. Yet my reaction to it tells me it was.

At first, I appreciated the chance to go visit my parents, especially since I could not go this past summer. I found myself taking long walks with the dogs in delightfully cooler weather. I attended an interesting dinner function with my parents where I met a cryptographer from World War Two, a couple working for democracy in Burma, and many other interesting people. I slept in and read the newspaper. Unlike the evacuation in Hugo, when I felt so isolated from home, this time, I stayed connected via Facebook and streaming the local Charleston news via computer. I also felt quite confident my house would be standing when I returned, unlike my downtown Charleston address I had in Hugo.

The return home was a bit traumatic for me and the dogs. 95 South was shut down in North Carolina and I had to re-route all the way to Charlotte. I journeyed on to Greenville where long-time friends sheltered us before we made it home the next day. Both Lucky and Ella were clingy for a few days and even cried when I went back to work on Tuesday. I think I would have cried as well if I wasn’t half asleep.

Now this week is under our belt and I have laid low this weekend, I think my reserves are filling back up. I find I can reflect and just be thankful that our brush with Mathew has left us relatively unscathed. Although I have come to the conclusion that I prefer to plan my vacations. But I suppose that is the crux of it, no matter what we plan, we have no idea what might be out there to stop and redirect us.

If that is not an argument for the “live-in-the-moment” camp, I don’t know what is. Yes, we are subject to the events that come at us unexpectedly, but we have the strength to handle it, even if we need some recovery time afterward.

So here is hoping for a normal and uneventful week. If not, well we will just have to roll with it!

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