Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Salon:: After Matthew

     On October 4th I was having a normal school day, more worried about grading deadlines than the hurricane that was apparently barreling toward us all along. The next morning I was on the highway, headed toward the Charlotte, North Carolina area, having hastily prepared to be away from home for a few days. 

     I brought school work, my computer, and plenty of books. As it turned out, I spent much of my "hurrication" glued to social media, getting updates about the hurricane. Waiting and wondering was definitely the most stressful and difficult thing. I spent time with my friends and family, and tried to take my mind off the threat of Hurricane Matthew, but knowing that a hurricane is hurtling toward your home is not a good feeling. Especially since my husband had decided to stay home.

     What happened: on Friday night and into early Saturday morning, Matthew slammed into Hilton Head Island, where I live. The complex where I live (everything in Hilton Head is called a "villa" but our home is part of what looks like a very ordinary apartment complex) was nearly unscathed. We didn't have electricity or water for about a day, but there was very little damage, not even flooding. Other parts of the island were not so lucky. Parts of the island were totally devastated, and the dock where my husband earns his living was completely destroyed.

     The evacuation order wasn't lifted for our country until Monday, and Hilton Head Islanders didn't get the okay to return until Tuesday afternoon. I left on Wednesday morning, a full week after I first evacuated. I can't even begin to express the relief I felt on getting home and actually seeing for myself the totally intact building where I live. And my totally intact husband.

     Our island is a beautiful place, and part of the beauty comes from the many, many trees--some of them gigantic, ancient live oaks. Now there is a symphony of chain saws as workers cut up the many fallen trees. My overall feeling is a sense of gratitude: things could have been so much worse.

     Tomorrow I will see my students for the first time in almost two weeks. Some of them may have lost their homes, or had their homes damaged. Some of them may have lost clothing, furniture, or school supplies in the hurricane or flooding. Some of their families may have taken a financial hit from the expenses of evacuation. It's going to be a challenge to get back to work and pick up where we left off. 

     What did I read during this time? Not as much as you might expect. I finally finished my reread of Crime and Punishment. What an emotionally and psychologically intense book! It is definitely one of my favorite classics, but it took me a long time to read. Part of that was due to teaching and reviewing responsibilities. But I also think that Crime and Punishment requires a level of attentiveness and focus that not all books demand.

  I did get a chance to delve into Jim Burke's book What's the Big Idea? It's really difficult to find time for professional development reading when I'm in the midst of teaching, so it was nice to have time to read this excellent book. I got lots of great ideas and instructional strategies for my teaching.

     After Crime and Punishment, I thought I would try Descent, which is billed as an "enthralling thriller." So far I'm really liking it, and the writing is very good.

     Back to school tomorrow....this should be interesting. How was your week? What are you reading?


bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you and your husband are okay.

Kate said...

I'm happy to hear that you and your husband are okay and your home is intact! Best of luck returning to school!

Joy Weese Moll said...

I'm glad your home and husband are fine. I'm feeling for your students. I'm sure some of them will appreciate the structure that the school routine can bring (but it might be a few days before they can settle into it).

Bryan G. Robinson said...

Glad you both and your house are okay.

Crime and Punishment is one of my favorite classics. I only read it once, but I loved it. I need to reread it here someday.

I have about four books planned to read this weekend for the readathon, but other than that, I'm not reading anything right now.

Iliana said...

So glad you guys made it back home safe & sound. I can only imagine how stressful this must have been. Hopefully all of your students also were able to get back to their homes safe!

Lisa said...

I don't think we really stop and think about the varying degrees in which areas that have had a natural disaster are effected. That would really making teaching difficult because the kids would certainly be coming from even more different places than usual. Glad your place (and your hubby!) were okay. Hope things are getting back to normal.