Thursday, November 1, 2012

In the aftermath of Sandy

Originally, when I planned our first November story, I intended to write a brief entry about the travels Ivan and I made in the two days before Hurricane Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey. We made the most of our time on Saturday and Sunday, driving around Sussex and Morris Counties and making a few really neat discoveries before settling in to ride out the storm.

Today, however, it doesn't seem very appropriate to be sharing those adventures when so many of our fellow New Jerseyans have lost so much. We're fortunate to have only been without power and heat for a few days, a mere inconvenience by comparison. The devastation the hurricane wrought is beyond description; I'm sure you've seen as much or more of the coverage than I have, and you likely don't need me to tell you. Some of you may have experienced it first hand.

Situations like this remind me of certain truths in life. When it comes to Mother Nature, there's very little we can do but adapt and ride out the challenges. We have to admit we have less control over our circumstances than we'd like to admit, as difficult as it is to accept. And adversity gives us opportunity to show our better natures.

So many people and communities have been changed dramatically by the storm's impact. The fury of wind-driven waves has reshaped our coast, taking away homes and businesses and memories as other historic weather events have claimed parts of Cape May and the barrier islands in the past. The simple yet incomprehensible fact is that many of the things we remember so dearly about Southern New Jersey aren't just hidden. They're gone.

It will take some time for the damage to be assessed fully, and it'll take a while for next steps to be planned out and taken. In the meantime, we have the opportunity to be truly kind to each other. Whether it's volunteering to help out those in need, contributing to the economies of the affected communities, or simply by cutting each other a break by not getting frustrated and angry on a long line for gas, it's us New Jerseyans who control whether the storm's aftermath gets the best of us. Our neighbors and friends need us. We know we're great people. Now's the time to show it.

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