But summer is also the time for hurricanes, those phenomena that stick in the memory of those that have experienced them, and shrugged off by those that have yet to taste the joy of widespread destruction and disruption of our warm, still summer months. Its an axiom of hurricanes that the fewer you have experienced, the less regard you have for them. Many many people gave up on the Keys after eight storms in two consecutive seasons. Another weekend, another hurricane read the wry bumper stickers of the period. Wilma culminated that run with a mass drowning that sank seventy percent of the city and killed no one. It was a time of triumph and total post traumatic stress disorder. We were shattered, collectively, but we kept soldiering on, no riots no looting no fighting. It wasn't all bad though it was pretty awful. Even though residents had to be rescued from their roofs there weren't the dramatic headlines seen in New Orleans. The Keys plugged along. There were casualties though and even today you will see empty houses, shells of their former selves with the telltale dirty bathtub rings around the walls:It looks just a bit down at heel from across the street in New Town. Closer up:And closer yet shows the abandonment and its cause, rising waters, followed by mold and exhaustion, flooding really does suck:I never really appreciated stilt homes till Wilma left my home untouched. There was a move to build stilt homes in New Orleans' Lower Ninth District, but city planners objected saying they look ugly like "olives on sticks." Maybe but they stay dry, like this precariously balanced olive on Flagler Avenue, one of the few stilt homes in the City:Not architecturally striking, but fear of flooding has been a powerful motivator for those that still remember Wilma's waters in the city.
I have come to like living in my little tree house, my windows are on a level with the mature tree branches that surround it, and my decks give me splendid views. And waters will have to rise a long way to reach my bamboo floors...The sun reaches inside easily enough in the early morning and every day I am grateful my little home is still there, the sun shining through my wife's flower arrangement on the dining table:Stoicism is a fine quality in hurricane season , but there are a few months yet before things heat up and I've got some riding to do, on those roads that at last should be emptying out as the weeks go by.