The power is back on all across campus. The students have returned. Classes are back in session. There are no longer hourly news updates to tear me away from whatever it is I’m working on. People keep saying that we’re going back to normal, we’re going back to how things were before the storm.
Watching the news in the few days after the storm was absolutely terrible. It was like driving by a car accident on the highway. You don’t want to look, but you do anyway. You just have to. Watching the news reminded me of watching Hurricane Katrina footage early in my freshman year. At first, the footage just showed water, damage, and destruction. Later, the news showed much worse things. There were bodies floating in the water and laying on the sidewalks. There were horror stories from the shelters that were supposed to be keeping all these people safe. As I write this, not all my friends have power, not all schools have reopened. I am hoping that the worst of the news footage has passed. I don’t want to see bodies floating in the water.
What made this different from watching Hurricane Katrina footage is my personal connection to it. I had never been to New Orleans. I felt bad because I was a human being with a soul (contrary to popular belief) and the things I saw on TV were terrible and upsetting. But this time, I was seeing places I knew, the places I grew up, the home to many of my memories.
I don’t think we’re back to normal yet. Things aren’t like they were before the storm right now. But I do think we are going to get there. My students have already started planning events to help everybody affected by the storm. People on the shore are vowing to rebuild. I think eventually things will be better than the way they were.