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As a Georgia girl I love the savage heat of Summer. Living in Virginia’s Tidewater region in Summer brings all the heat and humidity, and the occasional hurricane. At this time last evening, our little family was curled up with books and chatter as we sat beneath the light of a flickering oil lamp.

Today, we hit the streets to catch a glimpse of what Hurricane Irene left in her tracks. After 27 hours of steady rain and wind, this is what we found.

Most of the major roadways were dry. But secondary roads, like Elbow and Indian River Road had some flood waters that had not yet receded. With 900,000 people out of power in the wake of Irene, it was safe to assume there were downed power lines. We also learned from a radio report that tree limbs conduct electricity very well. Eeek. Obviously they would, but it’s not one of those facts you instantly recall.

Thankfully the Dominion Power crews we met today had the trees moved and power lines back where they belong. Nowhere was the work more evident than my beloved Sandbridge. Irene damaged several homes.

Expecting waves larger than those we found after Hurricane Earl’s departure last year…was a mistake. The waves, while perfect for body boarding and light surfing, were only a bit above average for our little slice of heaven.

Hurricane Irene did our beach one favor… it’s perfectly flat. A little deeper in places. And the sea grass that drove me to distraction? All gone. Only a few feet away, a home was destroyed. Irene devastated many communities, took lives in at least five states, and reminds us that Mother Nature is a creature unlike any other. Complex. Untamed.

There is nothing so wonderful as the feeling of awe, of witnessing the raw power of our Creator. Whether a hurricane’s path, the blessed bringing of a child into this world, the electricity between two people discovering or re-discovering love, the sweetness of a laugh, an act of kindness…this is the good stuff. Thank you and yes, Goodbye Irene.

—Media Lizzy

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