I have a weird pleasure. I enjoy bad weather days. I don’t want a bunch of them. But sometimes I just need them. I have stipulations though: No tornadoes, no flooding, no homes or people hit by lightening. All that in check and what a glorious day that can be.
Meanwhile I know people that freak out with the slightest breeze. Rain is ok, but they tremble at the thought of lightning and thunder.
So I watched Isaac churn his way north, and waited to see if he would come East or go West. I did feel some guilt over my desire for a tropical storm, knowing East or West it was going to come in where people least needed it. And yet, there are areas that need the rain so bad, that kind of rain can’t get there without coming ashore.
As the first feeder bands came through, there was a spring in my step and I thought about why and what I enjoy about bad weather days. The first reason I have always known:
Appreciation for the rain that is needed to keep things going. Appreciation for the sunny day that preceded or will follow.
Change in Pace would have to be another reason, slows things down, or in some cases, speeds up the step, if you are in the rain and wind.
This thought led to something else, and I saw it unfolding. A change in temperament. People hold doors, speak more, and seem more helpful. I was having this thought as I was heading into work. I noticed some moving of large moving bins by one of the warehouses, as I came on base. I noticed a couple sitting in odd spots but did not think much about it.
At my desk, I began opening my email and one was an all user notification, letting us all know there would be visitors soon.
4,800 was the count.
4,800 individuals that represent the Marines, Air Force and the Navy. The largest sector, of the group, being the Marines.
The email suggested that employees that normally use the gate closest to that warehouse consider one of the other gates or at least be mindful of the increased foot traffic that would be about the next day.
At the end of the day I headed home, taking my normal route to the back the gate, past that warehouse. What hustle and bustle. All the doors of the warehouse were open, revealing a clean, spic and spanned floor of that very large warehouse. That strangely placed container that I noticed earlier, had its doors open too, exposing mini shower stalls inside. As I made my last turn, a row of 20-30 port a potties stood, that were not there that morning.
4,800 people would be sleeping and showering and conducting their days around this warehouse. Granted it’s a big one, but can you imagine? In a huge room with that many folks?
The next morning my curiosity over road the suggestion (ok, ok, the request) that we employees use another gate. I was not the only one. Our cars filed in in a single file line. As I followed the detour that did not take us RIGHT in front of these visitors temporary dwelling, I was glad to see those tan containers had been lined up blocking the potties and giving some privacy to the women and gentlemen displaced by Isaac’s arrival. As I meandered through the new path, I looked over and in front of that warehouse was row after row of tan /camo clad beings standing at attention. Perfect.
4,800 representatives and reminders that there are many who have chosen a path that requires them to be willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.
Willing to go where they are told to go without question. Not an option of how’s or what times or what gate they will choose to go to work or go home by, but by what they are ordered to do. By which they adhere to a discipline many of us would shake our heads at.
The past couple days have had increased foot traffic. Small groups of tan camo and blue camo clad bodies dotting the installation. I did not notice the blue’s and tan’s mixing. I suppose each unit stayed with their comrades.
This morning as I entered, there was a pick up on energy. As I made my turns, I looked to see the troops stand at attention but what I thought I saw, in the dim light of dawn, was the troops sitting. As I made another turn and was closer to their area, I realized what I saw was not sitting troops, but their packs and pillows all lined up.
While our area has been blessed with only Isaac’s feeder bans, and rain (still has not lessened our -13” deficit), I got to enjoy all those things that bad weather gives me.
Thoughtful and prayerful: So many have experienced with this storm the parts that no one wishes to experience. Fear, loss, unknown. And yet, it is moving so slow more will suffer – praying for those still in Isaac’s path.
Appreciation: For the rain and for the visitor’s reminding me how glad I am that I have more than 20 sq ft to call home tonight.
Gratitude: Grateful to be reminded of our freedoms and the price many have paid. Thankful to be able to watch the bans move through, seeing the grass green back up, thankful that sirens are not ringing and the water is far from topping it’s banks here.
Enjoyment of the simple pleasures: a smile, a “hey, it is about to pour,” a sit and visit until the rain passes. The Frisbee’s and football’s being tossed in the air while Marines, Airmen, and Sailors waiting to see how long they will stay here, or how quickly they will head back “home.” I did not see the first disgruntled face. It was enlightening to see many work to provide a safe haven for those that fight for us to have our safe havens.
Two nights, and now with their bundles, they will load up on buses. Marines, Air Men and Sailors, heading back to Pensacola.