As Palm Beach County recovers from the disastrous effects of Hurricane Irma, there are so many still without power, so many who haven’t returned from wherever they fled to find safety. Palm Beach Gardens was spared the worst of the damage, once again dodging a devastating bullet.
In my neighborhood I’ve watched the lights come back on painstakingly slow, one street at a time…until finally came our turn, last night around 6 p.m.
I ventured out this morning for the first time after three days without electricity, television or internet. Tree branches and debris are piled neatly along the city streets where almost all the traffic lights are back in working order. There’s a long wait at the railroad crossing, something is holding up the train. But I don’t care. I’m just happy to be here. The sun feels warm on my skin. After spending days inside a humid house, it’s a revelation.
My local Whole Foods Market is back up and running, almost fully stocked. Life feels back to normal. Almost. I pick up a few things and then stop by the library to return my books. The parking lot is packed with cars. As busy as I’ve ever seen it. Familiar faces mingle with refugees from nearby towns. A cool place to relax for awhile. I find a nice new stack of hold items ready to pick up. My usual mix of cookbooks, novels, music and movies.
Everywhere I go today the vibe is one of calm, almost reverence. People are polite, helpful. Yielding to let the other pass. At Publix the woman bagging my perfectly ripe avocado, my organic bananas, my fresh cilantro, asks me how I am doing.
“I’m feeling so grateful today.”
“Me too,” she smiles.
The cashier nods in agreement.
“Would you like to donate a dollar to the hurricane relief fund?”
“Yes! Can you make it five??”
Incredibly fortunate. Incredibly humbled.