Hurricane Ian Recovery Update, Day 4

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 3, 2022 | Sundance

I am going to start the Day 4 update with the golden words from dear Sharon, who eloquently writes:

“…..the holding pattern for tens of thousands…..”

“That’s just one thread in the word pictures presented by Sundance–a thread that is sort of a knothole in the fence…. and looking through it, there are details to be seen….confusion, uncertainty, counting the cash in one’s pocket (again), checking (again) for any possible cell phone coverage, glancing over to the neighbor who hasn’t taken a break for several hours (perhaps for fear that if they sit down, they won’t be able to get back up again)…. men at work with chainsaws…. women returning to what remains of the house to dig through the kitchen or the bathroom cupboards in search of some more, still usable everyday things….

And, …  this is an open-ended transition. Length uncertain. Ultimate destination uncertain. How to get there–mostly undetermined at this point.

In terms of individual lives, places to live, jobs/careers…. most of them probably don’t know for sure, yet, whether they are on an onramp or an offramp.

Sometimes I wonder if reaction to such events from a distance clouds the reality that those who are living it have no capacity to step away from it, not even for a moment. The lines on the field have been obliterated and none who are living this can be completely sure of how far away the goal line is.”

Perfectly and succinctly stated.

Day 4, is exactly like all day fours I have experienced before this one.  The autonomic response starts to give way to adrenalin exhaustion and human batteries need to be recharged.  Day four is also when internal callouses become valuable.

For some a quick “stay focused on ‘the task at hand‘” can suffice.  For others it’s, ‘go home to your family – take a break – see you the day after tomorrow‘.

When you build internal callouses you train yourself not to look at the miles, you look at the two to four feet in front of you.  Look up and you will allow the whisper of despondency to creep in. Stay focused on the 2-to-4-foot task at hand and your brain remains wired in a manageable condition.

Steady, we fill that 20 or 40-yard container, then go eat. Reengage, clear the path, fill another 20-yard and then move… Always forward.  If you start calculating the time it will take to clear and fill 4,768 40-yard containers the gremlins will whisper in your ear all day and wear you down.

Ignore the gremlins.

Instead, listen to the faces – hear their stories, then keep going to the next set of faces…. Always forward.

I should also mention that sunscreen is an essential hurricane supply.  If you see the 30 or 50 block version, the thick stuff on sale, throw one in your battery box.  If needed, slobber it all over yourself during morning coffee time and again early afternoon after chainsaw sharpening.

It has been a long time since I have seen so many east/west helicopter flights all day.  The southwest Florida skies look like the air highways around Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I can only imagine what RSW airport looks like.  Probably quite an ocean of helicopter aviation.  The gremlin wants me to imagine lots of things related to seeing so many search and rescue missions ongoing this far after the event. I’m ignoring the whisper.  Death toll at 76.

Warning in advance – What follows below comes from my cracker disposition:

SWFL has a tremendous amount of unemployed ‘service workers‘ right now.  SWFL also needs a massive and organized laundry operation.  Hint to SWFL management, please put those two elements together. Thank you in advance.

Mandatory” evacuations continue on the barrier islands.  There is a considerable resistance effort underway from the ‘crackers.’  Hint to SWFL management, if the resisting resident has a boat registered in the county (easy to check), then retreat from the severity of your effort.  Again, thank you in advance.

On a practical note, I see the millionaire/billionaire boating class are being told they must remove their status yachts from a couple of major locations.

Having grown up in the region and remembering where the barges operated before the roads and bridges were built, I suspect we are going back to pre-1960’s municipal port operations as an interim action to supply the islands. This type of infrastructure repurposing makes sense, but a whole generation of the white wine spritzer tribe is big mad right now [insert cracker squinting smile here].

I mentioned on Day 2 the historic Sanibel lighthouse is still standing.

Since 1884, every twelve seconds the lighthouse beacon blinked twice, creating a sequence of four navigational alerts per minute.  Ask me how I know that, and I will show you the clock of my childhood.

I learned how to read a sextant on the front porch of the Lightkeepers house.   I traded Mr. Brennan 4 fresh trout from Dixie Beach flats for the lessons, there were two (one day and one night), on using a sextant. From that moment at the age of around ten, I was known as “Trout” when I came back. It wasn’t funny.

Long before there was a ‘city glow’ on the eastern shore, the Sanibel beacon remained my waypoint in life.  Twelve seconds, blink twice, four per minute.  I spent tens of thousands of minutes with the comforting beacon at my six.  I was always safe when I could see it and I never strayed beyond its reach.

My first bull shark took me for an almost 1,000 blink-long tour of the back bay inlet during a particularly memorable night.

I also ‘caught‘ my first Silver King within reach of the beacon at sunrise.  Recording the moment by removing (then laminating) the trophy scale which to this day sits in an old cigar box filled with buttons, wire, ribbons, weird metal bits and mysterious childhood treasures.

That particular morning was exceptionally memorable because I proclaimed myself a ‘king fisher.’  Unfortunately, it was a short-lived moment of ego quickly deflated by an unusually furious mom – because I was going to be late for middle school.  “King Fisher” shouts I, dashing out the door, while hearing “fisher fool” chasing my ear from behind.

The Calusa Indians were smart enough never to live on this particular narrow finger of barrier islands.  Instead, they buried their dead out there.

As I get older, I realize that many generations made the Calusa wise.

Love to all,


(left) Before Hurricane Ian – (right) After Hurricane Ian

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