What Happens After The Storm?
When Hurricane Irma whipped through our neighborhood, we lost our power. As a matter of fact, we lost in at 4:00 PM Sunday and Irma was not due for another 9 hours. Yes, winds had picked up in the form of gusts, and rain bands had started, but nothing that we would consider as another rainy Florida day. First reaction was that the Power Company was doing a controlled shut down for safety. Wrong! Power would not be restored for another four days. Certainly there was a great moment of celebration when the kitchen light mercifully flickered on.
We escaped any major damage. All of the neighborhood was not so fortunate. What was in common with every home, door by door, block by block was trash. Irma had cleaned every tree in her path of many limbs, branches and Spanish Moss. Every branch that no longer produced leaves and was simply attached to the oak tree as an ornament, was stripped and thrown to the ground. Over loaded limbs, from the weight of the heavy Spain Moss had been ripped from the security of the tree trunk.
Before Irma, one neighbor's front yard was crowned with a most beautiful grandfather oak. Grandfather oaks are so valuable and protected, builder's are required, by code, to plan new neighborhoods around the majestic grandfather oaks. The neighbor's tree was thrown to the ground like a WWF wrestler is thrown to the mat. The owner was fortunate it fell at a 45° angle from the house. It took out the unlit street light. The concrete light pole crashed to the street with views of re-bar and chunks of concrete were in every direction.
The "Good" Out Performs The Hurricane
The morning following the 1:30 AM eye of the hurricane (the actual eye was 20 miles east) neighbors trickled from their cocoon homes to see the results. The neighbor with the grandfather oak, seeing his tree had fallen and completely blocked his front street, took his chain saw and began to carve the top limbs away as if it were a Thanksgiving turkey. Then another neighbor and another neighbor and a half a block of men showed up with chain saws, saws and pruners to join the dissection. Ladies would grab the hewed limbs and stacked them in ordered piles by length and diameter. By the end of the day, two thirds of the tree was ready for the trash man.
When Doth The Trash Man Cometh?
This morning, as I was in the front yard sipping my hand crafted cup of dark roast coffee, the trash man arrived for the first time since before the storm. Have you every thought how important a job the trash man has? Try going almost two weeks without and you will find out for yourself. Remember the comment about the celebration of the flickering light? Celebrating trash pick up is not all that different.
I scurried my way down to the curb, and with one hand holding my coffee cup, the other hand is extended skyward for a big high five. The leather glove met my hand and we both grinned from one side of our cheek to the other. As I reflect on that moment, I wander when pro athletes do the same celebration procedure as the trash man and I, if that one moment for them will be as memorable as our moment. I told the trash man I appreciated him, thanked him for his hard work. He could only take one trash can worth of debris. There are several more stacks to go. But next week, Thursday, it will be our turn again for trash pickup. And I will be out there waiting with a big high five.