Brittany has been beaten so many times by really bad storms and the like. It has been shattered, smashed to smithereens, crushed, ravaged so many, many times, both inland, in its coastal areas and at sea.
And now hurricanes, ever since 1987... (We just ‘celebrated’ the 25th anniversary of our first hurricane.)
We usually do not remember the names of the hurricanes. The years, yes... And every time , we talk about the ‘tempest of the century’... knowing very well that next year or one year from now, maybe two or five, another one will come, even more forceful and scarier.
And no one knows when it will happen again. It usually comes from the Atlantic Ocean which means our western border or sometimes from the south-west. (Those winds never fail to surprise the old people in Brittany.)
To tell the truth, hurricanes are fairly new in our history. We were used to wild squalls, terribly strong winds that could totally wreck houses and boats and woods, of course. But here and there. Several houses in a village. A few boats in one harbor.
We are learning to live with hurricanes with eyes and paths and whose track may destroy a huge part of a region and a country.
In 1999, I remember taking walks and drives throughout our area and realizing that there really was a straight path where havoc had been wreaked, leaving places on both sides totally undamaged.
Les Tertres had been badly hit just like our friend Bernard’s farm because they were on Lothar’s path. Our ‘neighbors’ were safe and sound. Fortunately, I’d say. Because this is the sort of fate you don’t wish on anybody.
High winds and squalls and strong gusts are so usual in Brittany that you know how to live with them. Even when it is blowing a gale, bringing trees down or slates, creating a few electricity shortages from time to time... You learn to live with winds that blow for several days and nights sometimes up to 70 miles/hr and over.
It is exhausting because it is so terribly noisy but you live through it because Brittany is windy, always windy. Some days more than others.
But a hurricane is quite something else.
For days now, ever since “Sandy” hit the Caribbean Sea and was said to go straight to New York, I have felt very distressed. I am always very worried whenever a hurricane wreaks havoc somewhere in the world. Because I’ve been there. I know how terrifying it can be and how dreadful it is bound to be for thousands and thousands of people.
Nature will bounce back. It always has.
But people will remain traumatized for a long time... not only because they have lost a lot but because it is so hard to face a severe hurricane. Frayed nerves at a minimum. More like PTSD though.
No wonder our ancestors were living in caves, usually well above the sea or the river level... I imagine that it took a few generations though to get to the point where it was much better to live above water level than below. Those were times when their only fear was that the sky would literally fall in and kill them. But since it was their one and only fear, their life was not any easier than ours. They probably spent an awful amount of time looking up.
Nowadays, we watch tv. We listen to the radio and we read newspapers.
Our lives are more overcrowded with mundane (and yet so important for us) concerns. And most of us live in cities where destruction will be a hundred (a thousand) times more important than it would have been in a desert... Well, cities versus desert... Maybe not to be compared but you understand what I mean, don’t you?
Conurbations brew disaster.
In 1987, Brittany was hit by a hurricane. It caused a lot of damage. But not this much when you think about it.
But in 1999, after hitting Brittany, the hurricane carried on till it struck Paris and the destruction was huge even though “Lothar” had somewhat weakened.
In Brittany, the wind has been blowing steadfastly but there has been no sudden silence and then no huge, terrifying crash like whatever happened on December 26, 1999... It’s windy, just windy.
“They” have been saying that we are bound to live through many hurricanes to come because of global warming. “They”, being scientists and green activists. But those are environmental issues that are obviously best left aside by our leaders considering our economy problems...
Then the well-known proverb will prove to be true... “He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.”
That’s a great comfort, I know!
*Good Luck to all of you, and Good Night, I hope*...