There used to be a time when losing your roof during a hurricane in Anguilla was an anomaly. Anguilla (which rhymes with vanilla) is a small, little-known island but, as the northernmost Leeward, built with the threatening shadow of a heavy storm in mind. As such, hurricanes which would wreak havoc in other islands or the US mainland rarely blow over our houses or take our roofs. I remember during Hurricane Lenny when someone in our village actually lost their roof. Everyone went out to look at the tragedy, offering assistance to the distraught family and listening with rapture to the story of what it was like for the hurricane to go with the roof. When I meet people in the shop now, in this post-Hurricane-Irma life, they greet me with “Vanessa, what the storm do you?” and I respond, “We lost our roof.” Half the time the person…
Its central location, height (188 m or 597 ft; 44 stories) and history make it one of the city’s most important landmarks. It is also widely recognized internationally as an engineering and architectural landmark since it was the world’s first major skyscraper successfully built on highly active seismic land. The old skyscraper withstood the 1985 Mexico City earthquake without damage – Wikipedia
Tragically, on the anniversary of 1985’s deadly earthquake, Mexico City shook wildly again today, September 19, 2017. Gratefully, in the last year, I have had the pleasure of visiting Mexico City on three different occasions, and I am forever fascinated by its people, its food, and ironically, like the irony of today’s quake’s timing, I am in awe of its architecture which is shaped by its having been shaken.
Last night I read that Anguilla was in the direct path of Category 5 Hurricane Irma. The hurricane’s eye hit the island early this morning. With wind speeds clocked at 185+ mph and surf surges 7-11′, Hurricane Irma left a catastrophic mark on this tranquil, beloved island.
Being a travel photographer, I never leave a location without being affected or without my heartstrings being tugged. It’s as if the people and place are permanently cataloged in my mind – the smells, the sounds, the tastes, the sights and the feelings never die. The senses are reintroduced through the saved imagery, and I feel a closeness. Visiting my photo archives last night, I prepared for the storm by looking through my favorite Anguilla images. I didn’t have to hide from the incoming, ferocious storm, brace myself against deadly winds, secure my house from rising flood waters or see torn-off roofs, downed trees or snapped-in-two power lines. Instead, securely inside my house, 3200 miles away, I worried about what Anguillians would face in the morning, and with this kindred spiritedness, I felt as if I was right next door to my neighbor.
This morning, while Hurricane Irma pummeled Anguilla, I attended my Wednesday workout class in Arizona. The motivational topic was perspective.
When you see a field of dandelions, do you think,
a bunch of weeds
or do you think,
a bunch of wishes?
No matter where we go in the world, we all desire shelter – a place to retreat to have safety and security, and when our shelter is threatened or wiped-out, we are lost – where do we go? what do we do?
How do we survive?
We grieve for what was and celebrate when the sun comes out.
– dandelions grow like crazy when the sun’s out –
Focusing on rebuilding the beauty
if we didn’t lose our lives.
Pick at endless weeds or choose to make innumerable wishes –
Anguillians are strong, gracious, and positive-thinking, and I’m fairly certain they will choose the latter