I spent most of today washing off the mucky brown soot that coated the windows in our house. It was so thick that a gloomy darkness shaded the rooms – remnants of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t realize just how badly caked they were until I started scrubbing them first with a heavy-duty cleaner and then with Windex. I changed the filthy water in the bucket numerous times and streams of the gross sludge traveled down the deck, disappearing into the gravel. Paper towel after paper towel was blackened with the deposits. It felt good to be physically scrubbing and ridding the house of the leftovers and debris of the storm. I am grateful to have windows to wash.

Life is getting back to normal…sort of…for some, anyway.  Down the main street that leads to the bay, not so much. Heartbreaking loss and devastation surrounds us. On this unseasonably warm sunny day, it’s easy to get lost in positive thoughts and forget what happened only a few weeks ago.  It’s easy to feel like it’s a carefree summer day as I wash the windows and feel the warmth of the sun on my face.  But then a fire truck comes down the street, and I am jolted by the weird honking of its horn.  It reminds me of Christmas time when my kids were little and the fire truck with Santa perched on top visited our neighborhood, waving to the excited children and throwing out candy for them to catch.  This time, however, it is a woman working for the Red Cross, shouting through a bull horn that hot food, blankets and necessities are available at the local club. I hear her moving on and traveling from street to street, and it brings back all the raw emotions that are hidden just below the surface – the fear I try to cover up and at times forget about. Tears come to my eyes for the loss of so much by so many. Then two police patrol boats make their way up and down the lagoons. I wonder what they are searching for. The seriousness of the situation which I have pushed to the back crevices of my mind resurfaces.

At times I wonder about the picking and choosing of whom this storm affected and how and why.  But it is not for me or for anyone else to know or try to figure out. I join the other volunteers at the food bank and relief center and try to do what I can with what I have, but it doesn’t seem like much. It doesn’t seem to make a dent in all that needs to be done to help our neighbors to get back on their feet. And yet it is happening one day at a time, one helping hand reaching out to a multitude of others, one act of kindness that leads to another and then another. People are so good and genuinely want to help, and it is because of this human spirit that so much progress is being made.

So today I will take a deep breath and wash the grime from the windows and gaze out at the bright blue sky in heavenly gratitude. We can see clearly now; gone are the dark clouds that got in our way.

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