An Ode to Sandy
When I was five I walked by myself each day to kindergarten
after being shown the seven block route only once.
Not so much afraid as lonely, I took to chatting with the sun along the way.
We became so friendly that soon the sun needed a name.
Sandy seemed appropriate, the beach being a sunny place
and the early morning sun as pale as the smallest sparkling shard.
Later, I would muse that I had started praying then
to a brilliant, influential, pivotal source
and atheistic though I was
it wasn’t a huge leap
to a relationship with an attentive God of goodness.
Even today, my husband suggests
that the orbed figure reigning prominently
in so many of my paintings not so subliminally
still correlates with Deity.
So I share all that to say
how ill-fitting a name Sandy is for a hurricane.
(At least they didn’t pick an all-female name as they often do;
this one can be appreciated for being more androgynous.
But I propose naming future atrocities non-people names.
Then the likes of Katrina and Irene don’t have to
be associated with devastation either.)
This misnamed Sandy
that just ripped through here
was the antithesis of God-like,
even though impressive in strength and breadth.
God does have encircling arms
but the reach of this storm
was more bewitching and talon-like
plucking trees and unleashing tides.
Our two 70 year old 70 foot tall pines toppled in less than a second
bringing down wires and snapping telephone poles: cold and dark for us.
The subway in New York City filled with water: certainly a bad day for rats.
Evacuated homes fill with water to the second floor: a painful, scary, sad Halloween.
Like princes on white stallions to the rescue,
electrical trucks earnestly prance in
with heroes harking from Alabama, Quebec,
and even shipped in by air from California.
Neighbors meet for the first time
after living across from each other for over a decade.
Noisy generators from the local grocery store
go through a truckload of propane every eight hours
which sounded like a huge waste to me until I heard
they had to throw out all the food in their other two large stores.
Someone on the sidewalk whined that they couldn’t live without their television.
Me, I’m waiting for internet, practically salivating for it.
We’re babies, so spoiled.
We’re going out to eat because we’d rather not have PB&J more than once a day.
How would we weather a more enormous calamity?
But the sun – Sandy my friend – has shown up again
while we’re still digging out and cleaning up
and the small kindnesses are appreciated more vividly
as we thrill with renewed gratitude for light and heat, refrigeration and hot showers
with some barriers broken down, and priorities reshuffled and shifting.
Somehow God has been here all along
ever-present and eternal
while His unlikeness raged
– an ugly impostor –
doomed to dissipation
and is now no more.