After living in the Caribbean for almost twenty-five years, I have to admit that I have become a fatalist when it comes to hurricanes. The fact that Hurricane Irma didn’t behave according to previous models didn’t alarm me like it did some of my expat island friends. While they ran around securing their fancy glass windows and storing away expensive electronic equipment, I made a trip to town and returned with two 55 lb. bags of dog food, a case of tuna fish, and a case of wine—half red, half white. That night, I waited for the bats to vacate their homes behind the exterior shutters and unhooked them just in case. (Sorry guys, you’ll have to camp out for a couple of days.) Then I pulled the jeep into the cast concrete garage and pulled a cork.
When my house burned down 17 years ago, I lost everything I had collected and cared enough about to ship down to the Caribbean—artwork, books, family heirlooms, photo albums—everything, that is, but my life. Since then material possessions haven’t been that dear to me. My rebuilt home is open and breezy upstairs, but downstairs is like a bunker. And my land has very positive Feng Shui—a river on each side and a mountain behind with an expansive view across a valley to the next set of mountains. But for all the fuss and bluster of a Category 4 hurricane, hardly a leaf stirred. A good amount of rain fell but nothing like Tropical Storm Erika two years ago, the effects of which we’re still trying to get over.
There are those who believe this bad weather is man made. (www.weatherwar101.com) Of course it is, but I would like to believe not intentionally. For those who don’t acknowledge climate change and global warming (like my native-born president), all I can say is ‘go figure.’ Here in the Caribbean, the sea keeps on coming in closer, and the water and the air just keep on getting warmer. The world as we know and love it seems to be disappearing before our very eyes. As intelligent human beings, we have to figure out a way to get ourselves out of the mess we created. For me that means land stewardship and living a sustainable lifestyle off the grid. What about you?
My heart goes out to the folks in Texas and my neighbors in the northern Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Florida. I just won a scholarship to the Key West literary Seminar in January 2018, but I don’t think I’ll buy a plane ticket just yet!