It was a joyous day on Sunday, when we all came out of our houses to assess the damage that wasn't. I had fallen asleep to some scary wind gusts that occasionally bent the 120 foot trees in my neighbors' backyard much more than I liked. When I woke up in the morning I instantly noticed the humming of the AC--we still had power! Outside, the air was fresh and clean.
My parents--visiting from Berlin--didn't understand a thing that was going on, neither the three-day hype before nor our fears when the winds arrived or the relief when they had passed, and even less so the fact that more than 200,000 households in the DC area were still without power the next day. To illustrate what could have been, I showed them pictures I took in my neighborhood after a bad storm last summer.
I have long given up trying to explain to them what I have been struggling to understand myself: things like the overhead power lines or the fact that houses are seen more as temporary structures in this country where few people expect the next five generations of their children and grandchildren to live in the same place.
There are great advantages to this mobility, constant flow and freedom. But -- just like many other aspects of freedom -- there's a price as well. That price is vulnerability.
I'm glad we didn't have to pay it this weekend. I know that once more, many others weren't so lucky, and I hope for all of them that they will be able to rebuild and recover quickly.
© 2012, Catarina Bannier