Good morning. It's a gorgeous day here in Houston, I mean a truly beautiful day. The sun is beaming down and the temperature is in the lower 60s. The slightest breeze rustles the leaves of the tree outside my window.
That's just a weather report though.
I have power. I woke up in my own bed this morning with my dog beside me and the whole house cooled by air-conditioning. Houston is an enormous city and only a handful of us, sporadically located, can say that.
I rode out Hurricane Ike with 10 friends and 7 dogs. We had a good time. It reminded me of slumber parties from my childhood. We lost power at midnight and stayed on the back porch until the winds began to get frightening. I slept with the window slightly cracked open and through that window could see the tree tops and the trees themselves swaying and rocking like someone desperately waving their arms in effort to get my attention. Then I slept through the night, not hearing so much as a twig drop or leaf blow. In the morning, we walked around like zombies, not able to believe what our eyes told us to be true. One friend and I set out in her Suburban to assess the businesses and homes of the group. I have never before seen first-hand the destruction that we saw on that drive, never seen such enormously heavy things such as tree after tree after tree lifted or twisted from the ground and moved elsewhere, or fallen onto and through countless homes, taking power lines and other trees down in their path, or garages moved from one driveway to the next or balconies sheered from homes and businesses. Bayous raged from their banks and roads were rivers. People stood in their yards stunned at the enormity of damage before them.
And then, it seemed that the entire city rolled up its sleeves and got to work. Rakes came out, gas-powered chainsaws could be heard all around. Helicopters flew above.
But then Saturday night an angry rain storm blew through this city and it dumped a sky full of rain on top of this wind and water ravaged city, and the next morning things had gone from bad to worse. But, once again, people went to work. Ice was shared, water was shared, generators fired up. Yards were cleaned and trash was bagged. Piles of debris were put to the curb. Strangers waved to strangers, neighbors hugged each other and told their stories. We honked and thanked the power company and city employees.
This city has been damaged, and she's a mess right now, but her spirit is amazing and apparently resilient. I've never been as proud to be a Houstonian as I have been this week.