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Nineteen hundred ninety – two, that’s where my memories travel as I sit here in silence twenty-eight years later. The wrath of Hurricane Andrew had just hit our town and tore us up. Much of our heritage was taken by the whirling winds of this insistent storm named Andrew. Our trees and houses were gone, and our lives were uprooted alongside the massive oaks and brittle pines, how would this ever be us again? How do we begin to start over?


We did; we endured and worked and recovered. I wish that same sequel for our neighbors that were in the brutal path of Laura; I have seen the pictures.


On a simpler note, we did not have much technology to lose when Andrew hit. We lived in the country and were still using an antenna. There were no cellular telephones and no home computers but there was, nonetheless, a void, a modern vacuum had been formed by downed wires and fragmented cables; we were disconnected. Today, the day after Laura, I have little yard debris to pick up and my house is tight and secure but somehow, I feel more severed. This forfeit forces me to think how dependent I, we, have become on cable TV and the internet and all things virtual. It makes clear how far removed many have become from all things real. I walk through the yard and see that my hens are still laying today, the bees are a little less busy but busy nevertheless, the two kittens from the woods are still shy and hungry, the mockingbirds are squawking, and the world still turning, the world that is always here and always genuine, the world that does not stop when unplugged.


in 1992, we felt somewhat abandoned by the modern world but not as much detachment as we feel in 2020. My boys still played outside then, and they only had Saturday morning cartoons to watch and VCR movies to rent, so that part of the aftermath was easy. I suppose it was just the oppressive heat that was the most bothersome. I do remember one beautiful occurrence that happened at night following that storm. The stars were unveiled. It was in a time before the use of generators was as widespread, so the night was somewhat quiet and the stars were blazing in the sky, it was before the matchless competition from down below. I will never forget that beauty, that real view of the night sky that, oddly, seemed unreal. I have not seen it again since.


I suppose we just thought things were upside down and weird with Covid, now we have the aftermath of a hurricane, now, we seem to be stretched to our outer bounds, and now we are nowhere near our normal. Children are away from their schools, families are away from one another, stores and services are closed, and suspended and, within this odd setting, there are critical communal sounds that we all must decipher and deal with, together.


What else can be unveiled in this world of illusion, this world of skepticism where we search for the truth but many of our sources have been somewhat tainted as we hear extreme verses of the same song? For now, at least where I am on this day, I am without technology, without sounds from simulated sources and while I expect tomorrow to bring with it clean up and stifling heat, today, I meet face-to-face with my real world and question nearly everything.

Pam Shensky

Berry Tales

August 27, 2020






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