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Is it me? How much 'spin' can I absorb in four days!? I dwell in hurricane country; better known as The Florida Suncoast, that's the Gulf Coast side. News of whirlwinds and the force of spin is nothing new to me. In 2004 and 2005, Florida and the entire Gulf Coast all the way around to Texas was battered with eight major storms, five of which were Category 5's!  

In the wake of the horrors of Katrina, and Rita, which targeted Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi, the other six that ravaged every county in the state of Florida and parts of Alabama, were kind of forgotten. Charlie came in just twenty miles south of me, but it was Frances, two weeks later, that got the best of me! She decided to sit over us for twelve hours of battering before she slowly meandered north along the entire spine of the state. Jeanne skirted the east coast wreaking havoc from Ft. Lauderdale to Jacksonville, and Ivan the big boy, who they said would have been an 'eight' if the category chart had went that high, roared through the Gulf to the Panhandle, as did his brother, Dennis.  

And, then there was Wilma! She was a feisty lady! She roared into the Gulf, seemingly out of nowhere; maybe we were all too wind-worn by then to even notice! Wilma didn't wait long to get our attention, though! Not to be outdone by her siblings, she slammed into the southwest coast down around Fort Meyers and Naples, crossed the state strengthening all the way, wandered just a bit out into the Atlantic, caught her second fury, turned around and slammed back into the east coast near Miami and headed north again.  

Just ten days ago, Fay dumped thirty inches of rain on the east coast almost totally flooding the city of Melbourne and points north. She came in on the west side, too. State crossing seems to be the latest sport of these storms. Never underestimate the power of a tropical storm like Fay. Often, in terms of sustained winds and rain, they dump a lot more than a full-fledged hurricane. And, they move slower so the sixty, sixty-five mile per hour winds can batter you for hours, weakening the strongest of trees.  

At the moment, my every thought is with my neighbors to the north as they take the battering of Gustav. Hannah is approaching from the east as I type, and now Ike is close behind. And, just behind Ike, getting ready to birth, is Joseph, already named. It's kind of like morphing into a bowling pin at the end of an alley down here when these 'seasons' decide to get active. September and early October can be the worst of the five-month long season. We have had named storms as late as December in recent years.  

People would wonder why I am so against off-shore drilling?! Why, I'm an activist for alternative energy! We can't control the oceans, no matter how clean the drilling technology! In hundred plus mile per hour winds, oil derricks are toothpicks at peril, coastal refineries and pipe lines can be rendered useless in a heartbeat.

People wonder why I tend to go boisterously vocal when the concept of Global Warming is dismissed as a myth, as the newly-announced Republican VP candidate has suggested. Maybe floods and massive fires, droughts and tornado alleys don't exist in the grand old state of Alaska. Perhaps these calamities are just acts of a vengeful god against the wicked. Oh yes, we've had hurricanes and fires and climatic cycles for millions of eons, or at the least for the few thousand centuries since the creationists assert Eden rose out of the dust, but in the thirty years I've resided in Florida, I've not witnessed this number and this intensity.

You see, hurricanes aren't evil. They are one of nature's air conditioners. When the seas get too warm and marine life, which is a major food source of the masses, is endangered, a hurricane cools them down. Or, ice melts and cools the currents. The oceans are in control of this planet. That’s God’s natural law. That they cover most of the orb should be the first clue. When rain forests are devastated, rainfall is affected and oceans heat up and drought and fire often result too. When the atmosphere is thick with pollutants and carbon from fossil fuel emissions, the heat can't escape into space, just exacerbating the climate dilemma.  

Heads up, Governor Palin.  Shooting a hurricane in the eye won't phase it a bit! Doubt it would do much to stop a tornado either. There are bigger things out here than caribou and polar bears. And, I've never heard of wildfire stew.

But, I must learn to be patient. Governor Palin admitted she hasn't been too interested in foreign affairs. She's been busy reforming her governor's post for her one million constituents. Even went above and beyond the call of duty and cleaned out an errant family member that misbehaved. Maybe as she travels around and discovers the lower forty-eight and that foreign group of islands out in the Pacific that starts with an H, she'll get to know the other 349 million of us. Meanwhile, I'll pray for the Alaskan fish and wildlife.

Not to worry, Hillary! We're happy you cracked that glass ceiling and you'll quite likely be the one to break through it again. Hopefully, your new well-pandered replacement won't seal it all back up again. Now, I'm gonna get my backside out of Florida and the line of hurricane fire. I'm off to California. I think it has quit burning out there now.

Be safe all, and keep watching for those rainbows!  

Susan Haley, Author


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