Last week, I wrote a post titled ‘Dear Mother Nature’ that I planned on publishing this week. It was a light-hearted letter thanking Mother Nature for giving us the solar eclipse and the opportunity to connect with strangers. In light of Hurricane Harvey and everything happening in Texas this week, it quickly became clear that the timing of my article glorifying Mother Nature was completely inappropriate.
However, what I realized last night is that the message of my post actually is still relevant: Mother Nature is more powerful than the winds it unleashes, the torrential rains that relentlessly beat down on already water-logged areas, the mudslides, blizzards, draught or fires. Mother Nature is the one thing that has the potential to bring out the very best of Human Nature.
Mother Nature brings people together.
Just think about the timeline of recent events. On August 14th, 2017 the Charlottesville White Supremacist Rally erupted in violence, showcasing how fractured our nation is, the seething hatred that continues to infiltrate modern-day America. It was a low moment for human nature.
August 21st, 2017. Seven days after Charlottesville. Seven days of relentless attention on how divided we are as a nation. And, the day of the solar eclipse. It felt like such a gift. Suddenly, the attention turned from hatred to connection. The solar eclipse gave us a reason to stand side by side with strangers, allowing us to bond with each other instead of fight with each other over race, over politics, over religion, over sexual orientation, over hate, over all the stupid crap we seem to fight over these days. It was the perfect bright highlight for us after the darkness that fell upon us the previous week.
The solar eclipse broke through the barriers of hatred and enticed so many of us to stop working so that we could stand outside and witness this incredible act of nature. It gave us a reason to connect with people we might silently pass in the parking lot or in the halls and rarely take the time to get to know. The solar eclipse erased the differences and brought us together. I will never forget this day…it felt like time was suspended as I stood outside the building with the baking team, mingled with our neighbors, shared welding masks and homemade eclipse viewers, and reveled in seeing so many people outside.
Four days later, on August 25th, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and caused massive amounts of destruction. Mother Nature strikes again. However, what resonates the most for me from all of the news and images coming from Texas is that the best of Human Nature continues to triumph in the wake of a natural disaster. The pictures that I keep thinking about as I write this are not of the violent winds or destroyed homes, but of the people carrying others in their arms, lifting them above the waist-high waters, bringing them to safety.
My hope is that everyone in Texas is able to quickly regroup and recover from the devastation caused this past week. I also pray that each of us is able to remember these moments of connection and good will, and let them propel us forward instead of having the hatred of Charlottesville pull us backward. If we must fight, let’s fight to stay connected.
Many thanks to my husband for the incredible photography…the power of a man and his drone.