Monday, October 10, 2016

Apres le Deluge, The Fall

The morning after Hurricane Matthew's departure was like a dream after a nightmare. The sky was bright blue, a light breeze was blowing, and it was almost cool enough to wear a light jacket on the dawgwalk. For surviving Matthew, our reward will be a week of 70-degree days and 50-degree nights.

So having survived the hurricane, what did I do on the second gorgeous 70/50 day after the deluge? I took a fall while my Carolina dawg was sniffing out something in the juniper -- probably that long black (non-venomous) snake we've seen around. It happened so quickly that I'm not even sure I understand how it happened. I just know that falls are a major hazard for seniors. (My Dear Wife has had two terrible falls over the past decade, necessitating surgeries and physical therapy that could go only so far in knitting shoulders back together.) I try to be careful but sometimes falls seem to just happen. Learning how to brace yourself from the impact -- a skill I acquired in long-ago football-playing days -- can help a bit.

A warning to specific to dawgwalkers in hurricane zones: Beware gators and snakes displaced by the fierce storm, and hold tight your wooden cane in case your tough dawg goes after whatever moves, as mine does. My main damage seems limited to a bloodied bionic knee, which I washed with antibiotic soap and covered with big bandages after applying Neosporin ointment. Luckily, nothing seems to be broken (in either the replaced or original parts), although I feel sore all over, as if in a car accident.

First responder Chase Funderburk, Marion County, SC, Photo by Debbie Ammons, courtesy Ed Piotrowski of WPDE

Recovery from Matthew is underway in the community, which took far bigger hits than this klutzy senior did. Many trees are down, some of them atop homes and some across streets and power lines. Two of our mainstay fishing piers were demolished. Thousands of homes and businesses are still without power, and stoplights are still out at major intersections, raising the hazard level when drivers fail to apply 4-way courtesy in the absence of a sign to instruct them.

We got about 10 inches of rain in our neighborhood, and some others received several inches more. Numerous rivers are flooding again, or headed that way -- and that is heartbreaking for riverside denizens who suffered terribly in last October's 1,000-year flood.

The most terrifying happening for many folks riding out the hurricane was not the landfall in South Carolina and initial wind gusts, but the wrap-around, backside winds that came just when you thought Matthew was departing. They continued for hours with gusts in the 80 to 90 mph range. Somehow none of our own tall pines fell, but they bent so severely in the near-triple-digit winds that it is hard to know what prevented them from toppling. Maybe they are of firmer stock than this old dawgwalker.

Lessons learned, all around. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back in the game.And yes we will be walking on the beach this Saturday in the annual Heart Walk.

© Robert G. Holland 2016

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