Monday, August 28, 2017

harvey, from a houstonian

I've spent the past few days watching Harvey take over Houston. Roads I travel down daily are being navigated by boat. People are being told if they take shelter in their attic, they need to have an axe so they can cut themselves through the roof. 911 was over capacity. Nevertheless, we persisted.

A shelter was set up to give people a place to sleep and a warm meal and they were allowed to bring their pets. Because after going through the ordeal of saving myself from my flooded and destroyed home, I sure as hell wouldn't leave them behind.

This tweet that suggested that an image of a police officer rescuing two children from waist-deep flood waters take the place of the confederate statues that need to come down.

The fact that people are being rescued from their roofs via helicopter and brought to safety in the middle of a freeway. The freeway is too flooded to use for cars, so it's being put to a new use.

Hundreds of people braved closed roadways to take their boats on rescue missions for strangers.

A furniture store became a temporary shelter full of mattresses and hot meals (and they let you bring your pets, too).

People wonder why we didn't evacuate. There are just too many of us. Over two million people on a limited number of freeways over the course of two days (and it actually started raining on Friday, a day early) would have led to far too many of us being stuck in this. So we did what we could - depleted the bread, milk, and canned goods from grocery stores, stocked up on D batteries, and hunkered down. And a whole lot of us are okay. We're the lucky ones.

I'm in awe of how the community came together. The news people were phenomenal in telling people's stories and delivering updates without being overly dramatic. Space City Weather kept people calm and informed as the worst of the rain happened. Technicians for the power company kept the majority of the population with electricity. The first responders ran on fumes to help as many people as possible and the amount of help from other cities is amazing.

But still, my heart hurts. I know it's just stuff at the end of the day but if everything I worked for in my adult life was gone, I would feel a true loss. I can't imagine how lonely it must be to be scared on a rooftop or calling for help that takes hours to come while I had no access to news to see when the next band of rain was going to arrive.

All I could do was watch and hope I wasn't affected. So far, I wasn't. Thank you to anyone who reached out somehow to check on me and my family - that truly meant so much. I love this city, despite its sprawl and concrete and mosquitos - it's my home. I hope that the way we react to Harvey and the way we treat each other helps the rest of the country see why.

I couldn't let Harvey pass without some thoughts. I'll be back with silliness tomorrow for the Add it to my list linkup.

11 comments:

  1. I am praying for you & everyone down there. Houston was my first home all on my own. Watching the updates from all of my friends & former students down there has been both heartwarming & heartbreaking depending on the update. My heart breaks for everyone. The closest I ever had to live through down there was the flood that happened in the spring of 2015 & that is nowhere near Harvey so I can't even truly imagine. I'm glad that you are safe!

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  2. So devastating -- must be so hard to watch this happen firsthand. I'm seeing it on the news and it's heartbreaking. I DO love, however, seeing the examples of people coming together and helping one another -- that's the world I needed to be reminded I live in!

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  3. Been thinking about you - we have had some scares with flooding, but my particular neighborhood has always been safe, thank goodness. I'm glad you're safe!

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  4. Glad you all are safe. The area of SC I live in has had two years of October flooding from storms. It's so scary and heart wrenching. I'll continue to send positive thoughts TX' way.

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  5. I'm glad that y'all are still safe and dry! We are too, but we had a little scare last night and it seriously is just emotionally draining to think about all of your personal belongings that have so many memories of and with. I just can't even imagine, and I hope that we can both make it through this without having to go through that!

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  6. I'm glad you guys are okay. The "why didn't you leave" question must be something that only those who haven't experienced something like this can ask. We are approaching the anniversary of Hurricane Matthew in my area and it was terrible- and it was a much smaller scale than what you all are experiencing. Praying for all.

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  7. JUST awful, I've been thinking about you guys - everyone in Houston really, but I've been keeping track of my houston bloggers! My grandpa was in Galveston - he left Saturday, and came TO Houston ... so far the friends he's with are ok. We have college friends who had the national guard evacuate them, and friends who are like you guys, so far so good ... so scary.

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  8. Of course it's just stuff but I also would feel a deep loss. It is awful to see footage on TV and not be closer to physically do, help, serve people who need to be served while their spirit starts to heal.

    I don't understand why people don't get that if two million people evacuated, people would have drowned on those roads.

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  9. Very glad to hear you're ok! Also thanks for sharing those heartwarming stories. For all the rubbish we've had on the news recently it's good to hear the light in the darkness. We're not getting too much about Harvey on the news over here, so I'm keeping up as best I can but mostly keeping you all in my thoughts.

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  10. i can't imagine a whole city evacuating. we had some awful bush fires years ago and people got mad at the people who didn't leave, and yes fire is different than rain, obviously, but still. of course it's just stuff but i would be so upset if everything in my life was destroyed. of course the most important things are my family and pets but still. to go through that and then have to deal with recovering all that stuff - passports, birth certificates, not to mention the stuff that is more sentimental. glad you are okay.

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  11. My husband and I were just discussing the "why didn't they evacuate" debate at dinner tonight. I cannot imagine getting all of those people out of the city. People would have been stuck on those roads that flooded and it would have been even more disastrous. I cannot even imagine. There was no good answer but I think they did make the right call. And that story about the furniture store warms my heart. Hugs to you and your city from PA.

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