Writer’s Block: After Sandy, Can We Still Be Thankful?

By Corinne Wnek

The storm of the century, followed by a nor’easter chaser and the re-election of President Obama is a trilogy of terror that could easily have been scripted by that master of the horror story, Stephen King. Only it wasn’t. The frightening weather was stranger than any imaginative thing he could have written.

Two weeks without power or heat in November, failed cable and internet service and every other tree in my neck of the woods uprooted after a long and purposeful life, definitely left an impression upon us mere mortals. As if that wasn’t hard enough to endure, long lines at the pumps and empty shelves at the supermarket were bonus trips back to life in the seventies. And how does it seem possible that our beloved shore could rebound by May?

Hurricane Sandy proved to be everything the forecasters said it would be. The almost comical sounding moniker, ‘Frankenstorm’, couldn’t begin to tell the whole story of the destruction and loss suffered by New Jersey and New York residents. And it still goes on in many areas. Life as we knew it vanished in one fell swoop.

It’s a time like this, when ‘normal’ is re-defined, that makes me realize what I take for granted. So, notwithstanding the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, I am thankful that I was brought to a place of recognition that maybe it’s time to re-evaluate priorities and test my flexibility when life suddenly spirals downward.

Sandy also reminded us that big weather stories are not unique to the Carribean, the Philippines or even New Orleans. We became those very people who endured disaster as we safely watched their plight from the comfort of our family rooms. A new sense of ‘anything can happen here’ is now on my radar screen.

And I now realize that being ‘disaster prepared’ is more important than ever before. If you don’t have a few of those mini LED lanterns in your home now, you might ask Santa to bring you some this year. Candles work but are not as bright the lanterns, which are also safer to use. Check them out and give a few as holiday presents. They will definitely brighten the holidays.

Sandy reminded me of the importance to conserve on food, fuel and energy every day. When I was forced to do it for two weeks, I did it. I need to make this my new normal. From now on, my motto is ‘Conserve to preserve’. Not just in storms, but all the time.

One thing that is not a new normal for me is watching the genuine goodness of people helping each other throughout this mega storm. From the electrical line workers to tree removers to town cleanup crews, Jovian efforts were made to get us through this unprecedented disaster.

Food was somehow cooked, the elderly were cared for and generators were shared so that eventually we all could survive and, yes, go on to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Because where there is love and life, there are always plenty of reasons to give thanks. Not even Sandy could take that away.

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