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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another near miss

Surf was high at Jacksonville's beaches, but surfers
and a few daring souls got out there anyway.
                                               (Click on photos to make them larger)

       As I write this on the last Saturday of August, Hurricane Irene is swirling up the eastern coast about even with the northern shore of North Carolina.  We in Florida were spared yesterday as she passed us about 300 miles off shore.   We had rain and wind squalls off and on, but that was it.  We are thankful, but are worried about the eastern coast and New York City.   Fortunately, my daughter and her family in Raleigh had wind and rain, but nothing like what was on the coast.  
       I've lived most of my adult life in NE Florida and have seen only one hurricane make land here.  It was a Category 1, but did much damage to the beach and some to the inland areas.  At the beach, the ferris wheel looked as if it had folded in half.  Almost every house close to the water, fell into the water when the sand gave way underneath them.  All the creeks and the St. Johns River flooded several blocks.  At the time, I lived on a creek which over flowed its banks up to my door step.  When I opened the door to look out, there was a rabbit sitting on the step.  We just looked at each other until I closed the door.
      As with Irene, we've had a lot of near misses.  The hyped up weather reports get just about everybody into the stores to buy water, batteries, candles, masking tape for windows and plywood to board up windows.   The hardware and grocery stores do a great business.  Actually, this constant preparation for hurricanes that always bypass us has made most of us complacent.  I usually don't believe we'll be hit, but I go buy a few batteries and canned tuna just in case.  
   There is an element of excitement when a hurricane is out there.  Most of us are probably bored with our daily lives and a hurricane prediction stirs things up.  A few years ago, we at the beach were ordered to evacuate.  Because my elderly dad was living with us, we got out there on the highway with Dad and our two cats.  What a mess!!  I-95 was a parking lot.  There were so many cars no one was going anywhere.  We finally stopped at a hotel in town.  At least we weren't at the beach. That was another hurricane report that was much ado about nothing.  The hurricane took off out to sea.  That evacuation experience made me realize how awful it is to leave home with everything you have still in your house.  My sympathy goes out to those who lose their homes.  
    It is a helpless feeling to see the hurricane weather reports, know the winds and rain are on their way and be able to do nothing to stop it.  I think of Irene whirling towards New York City this very minute and the damage that will happen there.  Hurricanes are a metaphor for so much in life that is out of our control including illness and death that will affect us all eventually.  

Skies were dark even when the rain was gone.

Everybody and his dog came down to see the high surf.


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