AND THE GOOD NEWS

On Saturday, September 5, 1992, I heard about Iniki that morning. It was a hustle and a half  ‘battening down the hatches’ and getting my zoo–three horses, one dog and four cats–to safe shelter.

Once again I stayed home with the animals. (I’d spent Ewa in the barn with two horses on property surrounding the house on the Alexander Dam Road.) “We’ll all go together when we go,” I said then. And now. We cuddled up in the barn as hurricane winds brought down branches and stripped every leaf off every tree as far as the eye could see.

A nude tree is a very strange sight to behold.

The next day was so beautiful–swept clean of dirt, dust and debris–it blossomed like an hibiscus  in the hearts of all survivors. Across the street cattle, that had gathered at the bottom of my green valley, rose to their feet and sauntered back up the hill to graze.

The rest of the island looked like a war had stormed through. Houses at the top of the hill appeared  perfectly normal, until you caught on their roofs were missing. A house without a roof is a strange sight, too.

We’d been hit, darkness dulled the light, and passed through the eye–sunny, cloudless and clear blue sky–and been hit again. I think everyone who went through that remembers the morning after. That glorious glorious day. The air smelled sweet. The sound of no traffic a welcome silence.

In front of my house hundred of birds had feathered down–an animal knows instinctively where to find haven–and they began singing at first light, their tweets and twitters and bird lyrics an ode to joy. A peahen in a bare tree screeched as only a peahen can screech and livened up the party.

I think most of us were unprepared for Iniki. We swallowed our fear, took a deep breath, and rode it through.

Times are different.

We watched Kilo form south of us. We know that El Nino has gone berserk and may continue its berserkness until April. I’ve heard that because of climate confusion–global warming, whatever you want to call it–to follow the path of our storms is unpredictable. They can go anywhere.

I’m happy we were forewarned. Those of us who had computers watched Kilo–a strange critter–strengthen and weaken and lolligag around like winds on LSD. It couldn’t make up its mind. Did it have a mind? A destination? Or was it just on a spree?

What I do think is: if this is the way it’ll go until April, we’ll all be nervous wrecks.

I hope we get honest reporting. Not headlines to sell papers or religion. Please Editors–newsmen, talking heads–don’t become little boys who cry wolf. We need to be prepared. You need to be prepared. But we don’t need Tom Foolery.

I think Kauai can show the world how well we can handle reason, truth and disaster.

 

 

 

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