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Evacuating the hurricanes we create

I love mornings when I rise at dawn and putter around my kitchen. I get up early to write and gather the fragments of my day, deciding what to put my energy into. My cat awaits me as I open the bedroom door, meowing loudly in outrage at her food dish being empty. I find her special containers of food and empty them into her dish while she brushes her tail against my legs.
My Bunn coffeemaker awaits my attendance, and she launches into her mechanics as I pour water into her, leveling heaping spoons of my favorite brand into a filter and flipping the switch. I put cream and sugar into two cups, one for me and one for my husband. The cups await their drug.
This morning my routine is centering me as I awake to a world off-kilter. A hurricane is headed for Florida, a monster, and my eldest daughter is in its path where they live. The last thing I heard was they were evacuating northward. My middle daughter, as I type, is flying toward Greece for three months of work in a refugee camp. My son, the youngest, starts his final year of college in New York.
When you read this, all three of these things will be over and just begun.
I’m not a worrier, full of dread and thoughts of all the things that could go wrong with those I love. It’s more unease, an unsettled feeling that if I let it, would clench around my heart at certain moments like these.
They’re adults living in their worlds, but I’ll always be aware of where they are in it. The apron strings were severed long ago, but a sweet symmetry remains. When each of them left home, I felt them dropping millimeter by millimeter off my immediate radar, the each-minute-I-must-know-where-they-are feeling detaching in a needed release.
I’ve felt off-kilter in small ways for just over two years now, my kids not a part of that feeling. There have been successive happenings that have me riding a rough edge, a gritty and dirty one that leaves the cortex of my brain ever surprised. Things have happened in small increments, in tiny almost invisible ways, and each time we adjusted and scooched around, enveloping those small but dangerous changes as the norm.
Change is good, unless it isn’t. A hearkening back to times that were good for some but not all is a change I cannot get behind.
I like change, the ever-moving time lapse of my backyard evolving from summer flora, to autumn splendor, winter starkness and back around to spring newness. It’s the same for the cycle of our kids' lives or a marriage that stretches into a delicious and lengthy feast. We learn good transitions. We also learn what is not good change when danger signals to us in a blinding red light.
We let our children learn what is dangerous for them, allowing a dip into the forbidden pool, yanking them back out before it’s too late. But when danger comes one tiny fraction at a time, we don’t always see it until we’re immersed with no one to pull us out.
My schedule today goes something like this: drink a second cup of coffee, send off this column to my wonderful editor, schedule some social media for clients, mow the yard, do some editing work on the manuscript I’m sending off and decide what might be for supper.
Somewhere in that mix I’ll get some snaps from my son wending his way through city streets, a text from my middle daughter letting me know she’s landed safely in Europe and news on what my eldest is doing to stay out of the impending hurricane’s path.
We taught them to take care of themselves and stay out of harm’s way yet with the door cracked open to wild choices down strange roads. The key to life is living it, not with worry, but with care: awareness.
When we stop caring bit by bit, the off-kilter feeling can become a monster storm eating everything in its path. We might say hurricane season comes every year, and that no, they aren’t getting worse. We believe what we choose to believe, facts or not. There’s a hurricane coming, and one that’s already here, and I will not be swallowed by it.

Published: September 11, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170909960