Of Hurricane Harvey and a Hydrocodone Haze: A Short Reflection One Year Later

It’s raining heavily outside right now, and yet it sounds nothing like it did in the days before I wrote, from the comfort of our well-worn couch, this piece on recovering from trauma that I shared on Facebook. It was all I had to offer as I convalesced from surgery as my friends and neighbors labored in quickly rotting houses, or served tirelessly at overflowing and make-shift shelters around the metropolis, or emailed furiously from minimally functioning offices where various types of relief programs and systems were drawn up through the leftover energies of survival.

As my colleagues and friends and clients later marveled at the energy coming out of them, at the directed focus of their minds and sinews, I am no less sure how this essay came out of me. I was in a hydrocodone haze, my body weak as calories worked to repair surgically severed skin and muscle, sooth strained nerves, and as my lymphatic system, down two nodes, took a much-needed break from months of working overtime against a relentless and still-unnamed foe. It was such a paltry offering given the sledge-hammers even the small-boned folks amongst us were swinging against sheet-rock and molding dressers, given the shrink-wrapped cases of bottled water hefted from truck-beds onto card-tables in garages of less-wet homes, which had been made over night into command stations for neighborhood recovery efforts.

The rain here has now stopped. All dogs are taking their morning naps in peace, one curled up tightly and pressed against me. But another storm is forming out there and I’ve just learned that September could prove “active.” Our long-awaited 5-day camping trip is in jeopardy. For this moment, though, I am trying to focus and take solace in a cool and dry home, in the space between a laugh and a tear, in a long weekend, and a happy 12th wedding anniversary.

It is safety.
It is enough.

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