Thursday, November 01, 2012
Calling All Angels
I cannot stop thinking about New York (and the rest of the East) and how they are dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane. I was downtown in NY for September 11th, and I remember being shocked and a little annoyed at the force of feelings the rest of the country had about the event. We were the ones affected, after all, so what was so disturbing? I was younger. Probably in shock. And that whole event was wrapped up in nationalism, attack, a known enemy. I understand more now, though, being a continent away and worried for friends and the city itself.
Here the enemy is something we cannot band together and rail against. We can only hope to recover. I feel impotent being unable to do anything as I see the photos of people discovering bodies, standing in endless lines, struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy in the face of such overwhelming disaster. I cannot fathom lower Manhattan underwater. I won't go into my feelings about global warming, but two hurricanes in two years is not a comforting trend.
Anyone who has lived in New York has a relationship to it; it's a city that feels almost like a person. When we left, my friend Erin and I did a show called "Breaking up with New York" because it felt like the end of a relationship, albeit a one-sided one for the most part. For the country, it's where we keep many of our dreams and stories. It's our history; the birth of the financial district, labor unions, where the draft riots happened, where many of our ancestors first touched down. It's the Statue of Liberty and her message of hope and sanctuary. It's Broadway.
I am looking, and finding, stories of human triumph. It is difficult to watch from this side of the country, though, and be powerless to do anything. You can donate to New York Cares or the New York Food Bank. You can call your friends and let them know you are thinking of them and pray that they are safe. I never thought I'd be grateful for facebook, but it's been so helpful. You can remember that New Yorkers (I'm including the tri-state area here) are incredibly resilient, and band together in a crisis. I suppose we all do as Americans. We're heterogenous in so many ways, but we're scrappy. I like that about us. I love that about us.
My heart is with all my friends there, as are my worries right now. I hope they have power soon. I know there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. I hope this is not a trend.
Do what you can, call who you need, and be grateful to those around you.