Be encouraged

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Antiguans and Barbudans are breathing a sigh of relief, as well as thanking the Almighty for His bountiful showers of blessings, in the midst of Tropical Storm Philippe. At its height, the winds howled, and there were continuous flashes of lightning and aggressive peals of thunder. Many homes shook, and many others became inundated with water. Philippe was giving new meaning to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in which he declares, “Water, water everywhere, and all the boards did shrink . . .”. (See photo of Potworks Dam)

It had been many moons since we’d experienced that sort of rainfall. Indeed, not since the deluge of November 2020 when Little Creek Bridge was washed away, have we witnessed such an impressive weather event. Of course, we are ever so grateful that there was no loss of life. True, some folks had to be rescued from their cars, and others were taken from their flooded homes, on account of the rising waters. We can imagine the terror that many of them may have experienced when the reality that they could have perished in a watery grave stared them in the face. We celebrate with them.

To be sure, even as we cuddled under the blankets and shuddered ‘neath the sheets last evening, praying for morning to gild the skies and end our nightmare, we could not help but think of the many glorious metaphors and poetic lines that speak to storms and their aftermath. We drew comfort with their recall. For example, there is this popular line, “In back of the clouds, the sun is always shining . . .”.  Then there is this poem, “In fury and terror the tempest broke / It tore up the pine and shattered the oak / Yet the hummingbird hovered within the hour / Sipping clear rain from a trumpet flower.” Talk about hope and relief after a dreadful, seemingly hopeless, situation. Even as our pets shrieked in fear at the lightning, and sheets of rain beat upon our rooftops, we comforted ourselves with the words, “This too shall pass!” Whatever we are going through, folks, please know that the the misfortune, the adversity, are only temporary; “joy cometh in the morning.”

Not surprisingly, the collateral damage to Antigua and Barbuda is another matter. There is little joy in Mudville. The hastily deposited mounds of  . . . uh . . .’sugar cake’ (asphalt) in the many potholes adorning our roadways have all been washed out. The potholes are now significantly bigger. There are many roadways with enormous amounts of maul, dirt, pebbles and boulders. There are also some fallen trees and other detritus. Our Public Works folks have their work cut out for them, and here’s hoping that they work with some dispatch in the restoration effort.

Meanwhile, our hearts go out to the folks at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina. What a blow! What a loss to the many workers and their families who are now without jobs! What a setback for Antigua and Barbuda. In the early hours of yesterday morning, even as the rain was still falling unrelentingly, the Yacht Club went in a conflagration that destroyed some nineteen businesses. (See photo) Sigh! We certainly extend our best wishes to those businessmen and women who have been stricken by this dreadful blow, and we’re rooting for them to rebuild, bigger and better.

Interestingly, the seemingly jinxed Alfa Nero, a millstone about our necks – an awful drain on the public purse, with no end in sight, was moved from the vicinity of the Yacht Club Marina, only a few hours before the fire began. Whew! That was a close call. She is now moored at Heritage Quay. Seems, the ghost of Nero, the reprobate Roman Emperor who reportedly ‘fiddled while Rome burned,’ and for whom the Alfa Nero is named, was not going to be able to cast his horrible spell over his namesake. The Alfa Nero escaped a possible burning.

In her great piece, Waiting for the Calm after the Storm, Meredith Houston Carr writes, “The sea churned and lashed with such ferocity that it looked like it would never return to serenity. But the following day, we awoke to a bright calm. Peace settled over the deep blue water as it quietly lapped against the shore once again. Such a sight had seemed impossible just hours prior. While I love thunderstorms, I’m far less fond of the metaphorical storms that roll into our lives and turn them upside down: The wind of broken relationships that batter the heart. The waters of unmet expectations that flood the soul. The waves of broken dreams that pummel the mind with thoughts like this will never pass. When these storms hit, sinking seems inevitable and hope lost. . . .

But, “Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.” Be encouraged!

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