100 Words - Nature ain't Always Pretty

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and dry. We were hit by hurricane Irene on Sunday, after it had been reduced to tropical storm status and reports coming out of New York vacillated between sighs of relief and snarky comments about media over-hyping. And to look out the window that afternoon when the winds were supposed to be peaking but seeing nothing but a few leaves down, it appeared that the worst was over and we (New England) had been spared.

Daughter and I decided to venture out post-Irene and see what local minor damage there might be that wasn't on the news. We headed north, behind the storm, and about 15 miles up the road we were knocked out of our road-trip reverie by a "road closed" sign, beyond which was a lake where a road was supposed to be. A white SUV bobbed up ahead in the water, and to the left a business was submerged halfway to its roof. A few other travelers had pulled off the road and we all stood there in the misting rain, silent and staring. Gray sky, gray water, gray silence.

Collectively we were realizing Irene had been bigger than we thought, the eerie evidence was in front of us, but questions of what else, where else, who, where, knocked out voice.

Daughter scanned the radio stations as I sought alternate routes and calculated risks. It was still raining and it occurred to me that the storm might not be truly over. I hadn't checked the "radar" in over an hour, so caught up in the sense of relief. Nothing was being broadcast so we ventured on, murmuring sentiments about "that poor business owner".

We saw more flooding, some tributaries that had swelled into angry, rushing rivers, but no signs of real emergency. Inconvenience and a mess, yes.

I pulled up Twitter on my iPhone and instructed daughter on how to search hashtags for local incoming news. As the minutes ticked by the reports started coming in about two nearby towns further north that were in distress. Rivers had risen in a flash, churning milky brown waters lashing against bridges and dams and banks and taking out buildings, cars, and even a young woman.

Back at home and better able to get on top of real-time news I saw images and reports of Irene's destruction in Vermont, my homeland and still home to many friends and family. Town after town being battered by angry waters.

Irene was no dud. So I say again, I hope you are safe and dry. Not everyone is. Permanence, invincibility, security - these are all myths we tell ourselves to get through the day, but the truth is its all so fragile and can be stolen away swiftly and without much warning. Even when there's warning.

This week's pick is Views from Nature. Somehow the sinister, mischievous tone tickled me.


Raising her eyes, Rachel noticed the glow from the mirror and picked it up.

Where did this come from?

As she stared at herself, the reflection shifted imperceptibly from just Rachel to something more. She was drawn further into its depths, imagining she was no longer simply staring at herself but physically standing next to another version of herself.

Extending a single finger to lightly touch the shimmery glass she suddenly stopped. The reflection wasn’t copying her anymore. In fact, it was moving closer to her.

“So, “ the reflection said, “shall we get this show on the road then?”

The new prompt is in honor of all those affected by hurricane Irene, and all those natural disasters that have come before and will come again, and a deep bow to natural forces generally.


Use the prompt to communicate your own experience or sentiments on Irene, a personal experience with another force of nature you survived, internal storms, or whatever else comes up.