A Date With Hurricane Irma
People thought I was nuts. They were screaming at me to come back. One yelled out I was a crazy fool. Maybe she was right, but I was pulled to go. I rode my bike down to the beach as fast as I could. The gusting winds of Irma propelled me faster to my destination. The outer bands of her were powerful, I saw lightning in the distance, possibly transformers blowing up. I jumped off my bike, as I was losing balance from the gusts of wind. My bike blew away like a paper cut out. Why didn’t I blow away too? Suddenly the sky went all white and above me, was a huge round opening, like a doughnut hole. It was the eye of Hurricane Irma. There was a sudden calm, no more screaming people, no more wind, it was warm and somehow inviting. My body suddenly felt light as a feather and I drifted thousands of feet up into the eye.
Now I have no idea how I was standing there, as if there was a floor underneath my feet, but I was standing, in this dreamy warm, white world. I felt no fear, no panic, no people. Was I dreaming all this? I grabbed at my arm and gave it a hard pinch.
“No, you’re awake!” I heard a woman’s voice. “You are here with me.” Out of the whiteness of clouds appeared the most frightening, yet most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had slicked back bright white hair that was perfectly groomed down her back. Her skin was a pale blue and her eyes were glossy black like a shark’s eyes.
I hesitated, so distracted by her unusual beauty. “I, um,–”
“What!” she was angry. “What do you want, you pathetic human?”
“Are you Irma?” I was a bit taken back she called me pathetic, but since she is a part of nature, how can I blame her.
She laughed, but in a condescending manner, “that’s what you chose to call me! What do you want!”
“Huh?” I didn’t understand.
“What do you want!” She was getting a lot more angry at me. “I heard you talking to me at the sea, begging me to calm down. Who the hell are you?” I froze. I just froze there. How many humans get a hurricane spirit to talk to them, well, yell at them.
She glided over to me, right up to my face. Her black eyes stared into mine and as she breathed deeply, it was almost the sound of wind slipping through a window sill. It was erie. She began to glide around me, as if I was prey. She was so mad and her deep breathing of the wind got stronger. I got a moment of temporary bravery and swung around to meet her black eyes again. There was so much expression in them, even though all I saw was darkness. “I am asking you to, um, slow down?”
“Slow down? Me?” If she got any closer, she was going to kiss me, “why?” She suddenly grabbed her stomach and began to cough.
“Are you okay?” I don’t even know if I should have asked a hurricane spirit that. “Irma?” She bent over, making the most uncomfortable ghastly sounds unlike anything I have ever heard. Nobody makes sounds like that when throwing up. She heaved heavily and out came a huge mass of plastic covered in a dark slime. I wanted to vomit myself.
She stood up and wiped her pale pink lips. “You humans and all your waste, all your garbage!”
Suddenly it all made sense. “You are angry at us.” She gathered herself together and with tears in her black eyes she nodded a yes. Her breathing sounded like a wind storm again. She composed herself and became angry again.
“You humans have destroyed this planet with no regard to any other being except yourselves! All you do is take! All you do is destroy! You create garbage everyday and it’s suffocating us all! Then you come along and beg me to calm down. I owe you and your race nothing! You think I should just spare your precious little Florida?”
I totally understood her pain and anger. I was scrambling for the right words to say to her. I knew there wasn’t much time. “Irma, please, just hear me out, that is all I am asking of you.”
“I pulled you up here, so go on! Give me a reason I should calm down!” She was not so patient with me at first.
“Hope,” I responded calmly. “Hope can change things. There is goodness in the world, Irma. There are humans out there right now, desperately cleaning up the oceans, trying to reduce and reuse wasted goods, helping animals–”
“Your race had plenty of time!” She interrupted.
“No. That is not true. New generations are coming down to help you. I see it, everyday,” I told her.
“Hope?” she stared at me.
“Not all humans are bad or selfish. There are so many that care. Hope is all we have. It fuels the dreams of others. Hope brings life to where none existed. When your hurricanes sweep down and destroy, humans rebuild. It’s all because of hope,” she was listening. “Irma, I understand your hurt and angry and you have every right to be. But I am begging you to spare this beautiful state. It’s my home.”
“I will slow down here in the bay area and head to Orlando!”
“No! I need you to protect all of it. Spare all of it. Orlando too. Not just the gulf coast. There are animals here. Marine mammal rescues and horse rescues, Irma please, I am begging you to give us a chance.”
“Clean up your human garbage!” she firmly demanded.
“Always. You have my word.”
The feeling of lightness suddenly came back. She was releasing me back down. As I was slowly being lowered by her magnificent power. She bent down watching me. A slight smile appeared on her face.
“Hope!” she yelled down to me.
I smiled up at her, “we live off of it! Thank you Irma.” Her blue face and black eyes disappeared into the whiteness and I found myself, feet first firmly on the sand. The wind suddenly picked up again and the rain began to fall hard sideways against my face.
I collapsed on the beach, maybe from being in that strong magnetic field of Irma, hell, I don’t know. But my body obviously needed to recharge and I guess the beach was where that was going to happen for me. Everybody was safe from the storms in their homes and shelters, but not me. I was on the beach and the strong massive waves played me an unusual lullaby along with the dancing breeze of the palm trees as I drifted off to sleep.
Florida was my home. I risked my life to a hurricane spirit to prove it. I do hold on to hope and I do believe there is goodness in people. Tonight reminded me that I too needed to keep that promise to her and keep that goodness within me as well. I slept heavy through the night and was awoken by the sounds of people talking and the sun shining intensely on my face. Someone yelled out an ‘oh my god how did she survive’ statement and I was surrounded by curious bystanders.
“Are you okay?” A stranger put out his hand out to help me up. “You dear lady are a miracle to be alive.” I smiled at him and his graciousness and looked out to sea. Palm tree debris was everywhere and it was miraculous how nothing hit me.
I began to walk along the beach and wonder if everything that happened was just a dream. Maybe it was. I looked around and my seaside town was safe. Sure, some areas lost power and there was flooding, but I was grateful we all made it. Hurricane Irma did calm down a bit and spared us her angry category 4 or 5 outrage. I kept walking the beach and the warm waves tickled my bare feet. The voices got quieter as I got further away from the crowds. I approached the pier, which was surprisingly still standing, and I leaned my tired body against one of the pillars and just took it all in. What a dream that was. Suddenly I heard a loud splash as if someone threw something into the water. The warm waves drew back out to sea to reveal a huge conch shell. I picked it up and in blue writing said “Hope, love, Irma”. I smiled and took the shell home. As I made it back to my lost bike, I picked up every piece of garbage along the way as I held on tight to my special shell.
Last night, I convinced a hurricane spirit to believe in hope and that it can create a better world. I certainly had hope for her. Why do I even believe this? Well, hope deserves a chance, and so do we as a race. Our planet needs us.
Make a difference in your corner of the world. Everyday you are given a chance to start over and create change in your life. Plant a garden, rescue an animal, volunteer somewhere, clean your oceans and pick up garbage. Read an amazing book that inspires you. Be the change you wish to see in the world. After all, hope is what fuels us and action is what creates change. Love and respect your Planet Earth Mother, we only have one.
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