A stunning sunset in unscathed Pensacola can’t erase the destruction and suffering being visited upon our neighbors to the east and northeast by Hurricane Michael. Buck and I had just finished a comfort food supper when I saw it, grabbed my camera and raced upstairs and out to the second floor terrace to snap the moment before it was gone.
I covered up so much of the pages on my daybook with pictures and ink that there wasn’t much space left for notes, so I decided to try adding a blank insert. It was simple to do and turned out well.
The paper is from an old stack of ivory executive-size second sheets. I tore one in half, folded it to make a seam for glue, and stuck it in between the pages for October 10 and October 11. I added a rub-on stamp to the front along with some hickory smoke distress ink and have filled up the two inside pages with writing, saving the back for tomorrow! The old stationery has a lovely feel to it.
Hurricane Michael, a most unwelcome late-season guest, will be making landfall somewhere between Destin and Panama City Beach in a few hours. Our inland location near Pensacola in Escambia County, Florida has been downgraded to Tropical Storm alert status. It is our friends and family to the east who are in great jeopardy for loss of life, property and infrastructure damage.
Apalachicola is a quaint, lovely small riverfront fishing village. It hasn’t seen a bad hurricane in this century. Buck and I met for a reunion with my brother who lives in Apalachicola and my other brother who lives in Lakeland back in October, 2015. Some photos, below.
I just spoke to my younger brother and am greatly relieved to know he and his friend have evacuated from Apalachicola and are in a motel in Gainesville. She has medical issues that require guaranteed power to help her breathe, so Steve had to be sure his choice of sinecure was reliable.
Buck and I live roughly 200 miles from Apalachicola, about the same distance as Apalachicola to Gainesville. But while our home is nearly 20 miles inland from the beach, there’s a lot of dangerous, traffic-clogged turf to cover between there and here. I’m relieved they are high if not dry, in Gainesville.
Today Buck, Lula Belle and I walked around the fire lines at Longleaf. The entire property is about 90 acres, but our bush-hogged walking path, plus a gravel road to the gate, was about 3 miles. Warm and humid, but glorious. Once Hurricane Michael has passed through, which we expect around mid-day tomorrow, the ensuing ten-day forecast looks great, with temps finally dropping into the mid-seventies for daytime highs and high fifties at night.
The fall wildflowers are emerging: all sorts of lavenders and golds are decorating the forest. Well, why talk about it when I can show you?
Walk with me!
Strange, the power of these mixed media pages done on the fly. I thought I was sticking bits of paint, tissue, words and even the grainy contents of an unused herbal tea bag to work toward some essential point about one of my characters, Jackson Celestine Harper, and his feelings about the loss of his wife to ovarian cancer several years earlier.
But when I went upstairs to take a picture of the page, I was stunned to feel an emotional wallop and understand that this page conveys some of my own feelings about the death of my stepson, Darryl. He was 45 and died of a massive heart attack while sitting in a lawn chair on the patio of his apartment, apparently immediately after eating lunch and smoking a final cigarette. It happened thirteen years ago: October 6, 2005.
I won’t show this post to Buck. He said at the time, “I can’t live long enough to get over this.”
Darryl told me once he was the black sheep of the family. I said, “No, you may be slightly gray, but you’re a sheep of our fold, and always welcome to come home.” He knew we always had a candle in the window for him. Still do.
But it’s October. And the ten-day forecast calls for fall temps here in the Florida panhandle (finally).
We live in Pensacola, and my younger brother lives in a vulnerable spot in the small waterfront town of Apalachicola.
So I’m headed to the grocery store for just-in-case supplies. We checked the generator last night to be sure it’s working and the underground tank has enough gas to run it for several days.
Shelters, hospitals, and all emergency service organizations are scrambling.
The sky was filled with bright stars last night. I stood gazing upward, a soft breeze lifting my hair.
This morning dawned sunny and perfect for a walk to the gate with Lula Belle.
But here’s a link to the latest Hurricane Michael update from the Pensacola News Journal, and it can’t be ignored, no matter how pretty today is.
Landfall Wednesday. We’ll be fine. We live in a sturdy dwelling, nearly 20 miles inland. But there are many in harm’s way between Pensacola and Tallahassee, including my brother Steve and his dear friend, Carol. Time for a phone call.
I’ll keep you posted.
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