This is a term that’s being flung about a lot lately, by all sorts of people, for any number of reasons. I am beginning to wonder whether they even understand the gravity of it.
Be that as it may, I think it applies here. Yes the storms are over now. Yes, electricity has mostly been restored, people are mostly back in their homes, clean up is well under way.
But some are not.
There are many people who were in apartment buildings. This is not so strange, except for those whose complexes suffered serious damage and are uninhabitable. And the people cannot return to them. And FEMA will take several weeks to sort this out and compensate them.
And there is the river.
Mouth of the Cape Fear river, Snow’s Cut bridge at the Atlantic Ocean
North Carolina has long been known for tobacco, but another cash industry here is Smithfield, and most of the hog farm pork producers are here. These farms I learn have a way of dealing with hog waste using lagoons. When the river flooded the lagoons were breached.
Our electric company uses coal as a source for generating power. I learned the waste byproduct is deposited in coal-ash ponds. When the Cape Fear river flooded these ponds were breached.
So much more happens than the power of nature in a storm. The contaminants created by humans are our own undoing. The storm came because that’s what storms do. The river flooded because the storm’s rains and tidal surge overwhelmed it. Everything else? Well, that’s because we didn’t plan well enough to protect the river and environment from our own mess. We thought we had things contained, but we did not.
I remember a comic strip years ago, “Pogo” by Walt Kelly. A famous line from it was “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Mr. Kelly expounded on this more extensively–
“Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle. There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!” — Walt Kelly, June 1953 **
While we may in fact be our own enemy I like to give benefit of the doubt in thinking most of our self-damage is among our best-laid plans. We thought we had it safe and secure. We found we were mistaken, at a great expense. So we go back to the “drawing board.”
While I do not know this couple for me their slow, meandering stroll is a redemption.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” –Proverbs 16:9