If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6 (NIV)
Though there was no reason, not even anything on the weather map, I felt anxious about the weather all this week. The overcast skies, low humidity and wind reminded me of the days right around a hurricane’s path when the storm draws all the moisture to it and leaves behind refreshing breezes and drier air. Yesterday, I went to a meeting to discuss not disaster preparedness which has been drilled into our heads, but post hurricane recovery. I supervise two historical museums, an archive and two historical villages. They all have disaster plans in place. We know exactly what must be done to prepare our sites for a storm depending on its intensity. Some things are done in advance of hurricane season. Gathering supplies. Repairing roofs. Trimming hundred year old oak trees to allow wind to blow through their branches rather than against them. Some things wait until closer to the storms arrival. Boards or storm shutters on windows, picking up yards to prevent anything from blowing into buildings, covering computers, moving books off the floor in areas where there might be a flood. We have a detailed plan and every staff person knows their role. Supplies and vendors are also in place to assist us when the storm has passed. Beyond clean up, however, we have not done much to prepare for the complete destruction of one of our buildings. Once a historic building is gone, it is gone and really, unless you take a Disney approach and rebuild a fake building, there is nothing to do but salvage whatever historic fabric, boards, windows and doors that is left. When the meeting was over, I felt even more unsettled. Then, I turned on the news last night to see not only that there is a tropical storm out there, but that all the spaghetti models of Fay have converged on our area. It is as though my anxiety conjured her up. Most people can say, “Oh, its nothing to worry about. Just a rainmaker, some high tides, a little wind. A nuisance is all Fay will be.” Those people don’t have a maritime museum right on Sarasota Bay to think about. We have a large collection of historic boats that must be secured at their moorings or brought out of the water and tied down to trailers. Although the museum itself is housed in a 1912 schoolhouse that has served as the community’s hurricane shelter even in the devastating 1926 hurricane that wiped out most of the Village of Cortez, the community center where our boatbuilding program takes place is below flood plain. Way below flood plan. Thousands of dollars worth of tools have to be moved to higher ground. Although we do not know exactly which way she will go or what impact Fay will have, our staff is starting their prep work today. It’s going to be a long weekend. I am trying hard not to panic and remember who controls the wind, sea and even me.