Start the month right. Give each day a little blog entry. Kiss October’s round and orange jack-o-lantern butt buh-bye. Its moon wanes, high, still a bit bright, and it hangs with Jupiter and Venus in the morning darkness when the van chirps, unlocks its doors and lets me in to begin a morning commute and the hunt for a free parking space somewhere in the wild. I luck out more often than not. A moment to smile.
A new month to begin stories, edit articles, reach out to my family after Hurricane Sandy’s abrasive blast at my Jersey Girl past. I can feel the grit of sand finer than salt in my teeth, in my eyes, in my hair, between my toes, as I watch fiercely determined old friends dig out, saying their prayers of thanks for surviving amid paint-peeling cussing. That is the way. That is the real, the true. These are a people who close ranks and pull each other up and punch each other out, depending on what lesson must be taught that day. Look at them: They chew each other out, while patting each other on the back. They tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Each generation betrayed by nature, not quite trusting, not quite relaxing, until a faint and distant memory starts to blur and a little water spout gets all uppity and roars broadly over 10 percent of the globe. Hurling boats out of the water, twisting roller coaster tracks into the sea, twirling the curl that once was a high-rise crane.
Hearts ache, and bones are weary, and souls seek sacred solutions, crossing themselves as they cross their thresholds holding their breaths, not wanting to see what they will. Imagine if that were your baby, carried down nine flights of stairs and into a hurricane from the ICU incubator. Astonishing. Who are those heroes that evacuated that hospital in NYC? From far away, we anxiously seek pictures, words, videos of how things are, of who will answer the virtual role call of friends too far away to hand them a bandana to wipe their sweat and tears.
These are times that give us an opportunity to reconnect. People gather in a Chase bank lobby in New York City on the edge of darkness on some 30-something street where the powerful share with the powerless. Laptops, iPhones, iPads, Androids, plugged into power strips dangled out windows and doorways, like fingers dangling from heaven, free juice so humanity can connect to itself in the stadium that is Facebook, in the stands that is Twitter, in the digital photo booths of Instagram moments, and the little cafes that offer a meaty bite of blog.
The bad brings out our good. And the obvious must not be overlooked: Disaster always leaves a scar that eventually grows smooth, irresistible to touch, constantly tugging at our gaze. It really is impossible to look away, and we mustn’t. Our modern day Pompeii?