The Winds of Change: On My Birthday and Florence’s Arrival

O how they blow, the mighty winds of change. Isn’t there some sort of poem that starts that way? I don’t know, but the idea of wind changing physical and personal landscapes goes way back, I’m sure.

Three years ago this time, I stood along the shores at North Carolina’s Wrightsville Beach, listening to the waves’ roar for the first time in 13 years and marveling at how tiny I felt. As you read this, I hope that beautiful beach is avoiding total destruction by what had been one of the largest hurricanes ever to take a shot at us. (NOTE: I’m writing this on Wednesday night and setting it to run at the time of my birth, and thus I am not exactly sure what this mammoth storm has in fact done). While it does seem to be weakening some, its size and hurricane-force winds are increasing. I am sure there will be property damage as a result, but I pray that is all that is lost. Stuff can be replaced, lives can’t. Of course I understand there are myriad reasons why some folks were not able to evacuate, and I just hope the best for them.

When thinking about it, I am actually surprised that, at least according to my fallible memory, I’ve never experienced a hurricane on my birthday. It lies smack dab in the middle of peak season, which our WRAL newscasters say is September 10. Hurricanes have, however, followed my trips to the beach. There was of course the infamous Hugo in 1989, which happened right after my family’s first trip to Myrtle Beach, really the first such family trip that I’m aware of at all. I’ve written about that some in my post about our last most recent hurricane, Matthew.

Floyd struck in 99, right after a trip I and others took to Ocean Isle Beach wherein we were given nice rooms in two condos overlooking the sea. Fortunately though, I was too far inland to feel much of anything from that storm though, other than a nice breeze on an otherwise sunny day.

The combination of potentially life-altering storms and a birthday create a situation rife for reflection. While I would much prefer that the physical winds of change have little to no lasting mark, I do hope my figurative winds are about to change things to something I can barely imagine. The push for new employment is at an all-time high, as I’m working with the DSB counselor I mentioned a couple of entries ago. Ideas simmer and calcify, but as of yet the finished product has not emerged. It’s challenging, as it is for most of us adults these days. As I enter my 40th year (turn 39 years old, because we say that wrong) I find myself pondering what “society” would say I should have accomplished at this point.

  • Get married, Checked, though later than most
  • Have 2.5 children, Unchecked, and not likely to be. I don’t know about the poor child who’d have me as a parent
  • Have that house in a cul-d-sac, with said kids and a cute yapping dog, mostly unchecked, but the little dog is present. Homeownership may or may not happen
  • Have figured out what to do with life!, unchecked, This was easier in previous generations as people took whatever they could find and stay for 35 years. I guess now though it means entering a career path and finding how many ways to play that out.

So happy birthday to me! I guess I’ll enjoy whatever’s left of the sun, then hunker down with a good book or five and hope we manage not to float away. If you are anywhere near Florence, please stay safe and seek shelter if you need it.

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