Hurricane Sandy

Yesterday we braced for the impending storm with wine, candles, cheese, multiple computers fully charged and many flashlights—that way we could be romantic or functional depending on what was needed. As the day progressed the wind not only “whipped,” it howled, and by 6 pm it sounded explosive. You could hear cracks (but of what?) and many alarms and sirens went off downtown. But in the back of our home, with windows into our garden, we were more focused on the rain flowing on its side and the wild music made by the tightly tied bell on our back tree.

Having done all that it could, the NYC seemed to assume “brace” position and then waited for “the hit.” And as the gruesome news shots conveyed, the damage was quite dramatic. I read a book about the “earth without us,” and it described how quickly NYC would return to the sea without man’s intervention. How very evident today. Wind, Water and Trees were the headlines today (toss in power) and that just about sums up what we need to know about life (ok, I might add single malt scotch and chocolate).

It has been bittersweet. We awoke to news that my dad had power through the night and our home suffered no damage. There were phone/email messages from ten different countries which made us smile, as it was a great excuse to hear from all our friends and family (and it meant that our phone and computers were working!).

The destruction was massive, but the wealth of spirit quite phenomenal. New Yorkers are survivors, and by noon today, people were out on the street cleaning up, exercising, taking pictures and everyone was checking on everyone—everywhere. We were blessed with power throughout, although many others had not been so lucky. Our home has been the revolving refuge for those who lack electricity, running water or, God forbid, Internet! Friends were calling our block the “developed world.” Sadly, the area hit hardest is also the area by the World Trade Center Towers, so the friends who had to evacuate during 9/11 and then for Hurricane Irene last year, have also had to evacuate for Hurricane Sandy. We should keep their toothbrushes here.

I am meant to leave for Brazil in a few hours. Well, the airports are not yet opened and although I have tickets to leave from two different airports on two different airlines, all I have now is a competition between United and American Airlines to see who can get me out of here the fastest. So far, American has been able to rebook me on a flight to Sao Paulo on Thursday. Wish me luck. As part of a “Quest” – an immersion learning journey we are running next week, our Leaders’ Quest team has already sent out 136 invitations to a cocktail party for our local friends (yup—I am up to the old trick of throwing parties at other people’s homes). Looks like I will be delivering my toast via Skype (if my Brazilian friends are still speaking to me). I am really excited about this Quest and have explored any mode of transport to get to South America, including canoe. Given the many trees that have fallen, it’s not hard to imagine that I might just build a boat. The issue is, not only do the airports have to open, the bridges and tunnels have to open as well so we can get off Manhattan Island.
If you need a charge, a shower or a running toilet, you know where to find us!