Monday, September 05, 2005


September 11, 1992

Sirens woke me up. The sky was darker than normal in the early morning.
I could hear the wind pounding against our apartment walls. There was a mix of confusion. Keep the slatted window open or shut? I wasn't sure. We argued which was right. We opened them and the vertical blinds batted at us violently. We kept them shut. The wind was a scream that I couldn't ignore. We huddled nervously, holding hands, closing our eyes, at the center point of our tiny Hawaiian home wondering if the world around us was blowing away. Will we blow away as well?

The debris was the worst of our aftermath. It was everywhere. Our island didn't take the brunt of the storm. Kuai was decimated. The quiet after the storm was erupting with activity. The sounds of helicopters, emergency vehicles, and neighbors all working towards one purpose. Find those in need of help.

August 17, 1997

The sirens began at mid-day. I decided to go to work anyway. I had a class to teach. The roads were empty except for military police and the local authorities, and soon enough I was redirected back home. The wind was rocking my car, and I wasn't afraid. I half wished I could float away on one good gust and be done with it.

I arrived home, everyone was safe. The electricity was out, which meant no fans, no air conditioning in the unbearable Okinawan heat. We stayed cool by using ice cubes. That didn't last very long. We had stocked up on water and canned food, Iniki taught us well enough to not take too many chances.

Wait it out. For how long who can know?

I stayed out on the balcony for as long as I could stand the wind. It rocked me nearly off my feet, and then I thought better of it. Inside, the slatted windows were shut. No argument this time. We alternated reading books to the kids until they fell asleep, and then played card games.

This time, our home was made of thick concrete. I had every faith that we would still be standing after the winds died.

Looking out the window, the palms were bent in half. The sky was dark, the rain sliced through everything, and the wind screamed at us. A truck rolled down the street, but not on it's tires. Topple topple.

A few hours later Winnie decided to wreak havoc elsewhere. Zac and Abi were still sleeping, and the sky was a sickly blue green yellow.

Who's turn was it again?

It is at this point that I want to state that I recognize how extremely fortunate I have been to have experienced two tremendous storms in my life, without suffering losses. I know the sound of the screaming wind, I have not felt the brunt of it's full force. Prayers to those who have.


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