Backstreets and Alleys is an adventure in learning to see nature in everyday experiences. The ordinary is extraordinary. My back yard, an alley, city streets all contain the wonder of nature normally reserved for grand mountains or magnificent sunsets. We just need to learn to see.
This week, my little city, indeed the entire state, is experiencing the devastating magnitude of nature.
The smell of mud and dampness. Rotting vegetation and livestock mix with raw sewage. Poultry, cattle, and hog feed lots wash clean as the manure joins the stream. Unflushed toilets, unwashed bodies, damp clothing.
The taste of salty tears—brackish and boiled water.
Sounds of sirens, helicopters, and heavy equipment. Emergency broadcast notifications scream across television airwaves. Doors stick and refuse to open or close without a slam or bang. And after the roar of wind and waters, the quiet. Highways closed—traffic silenced. The railway tracks are washed away, so no mournful lullaby of passing trains in the night.
Everywhere dampness–soggy newspapers, sticky surfaces.
The largest helicopter evacuation since hurricane Katrina. As of yesterday:
– 200 miles of affected area, including 17 counties
– 17,494 homes damaged, 1,502 destroyed
– 5 people confirmed dead, 1,253 reported missing
– 11,700 people evacuated
– 1,872 people staying in shelters