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  • People think I’m crazy when I say it, and maybe I am. I miss hurricanes. I miss the rain and the wind and the force and the destruction. It’s not that I don’t understand how devastating they can be, because I do. I remember Katryna and I remember the entire city, just gone in news stories and on television. I remember the deaths and the floods and the terror. I know they’re not something to be missed.

    But I also remember the cul-de-sac. In August of 2005, I was living in Plantation, Florida, part of the area affected by hurricane Wilma. I don’t remember much about before, or even during the storm. But I remember after. I remember walking outside and seeing fallen trees and stop signs, cracked windshields and sidewalks, devastated faces. The power was out as was the water, and both entrances of the neighborhood were completely blocked with trees and other debris, making it impossible to drive anywhere. But that was when we got to know our neighbors. That was when we reached out to eachother, making breakfasts on charcoal grills and exchanging stories on the asphalt while we tried to put our lives back together.

    They hadn’t all been so powerful. Most of the hurricanes came and went, doing no worse than depriving us of electricity for a night or so. As a kid, I always secretly loved these brief power outages. I remember sitting on the floor in the living room, huddled around candles and decks of cards. But my favorite part wasn’t being inside. When the eye of the hurricane passes over, everything becomes clear. It’s a feeling that can’t be fully described unless you’ve experienced it: the rain stops and the sun shines through the center, and the wind whips around you so fast that you think you’re going to fly away. My father would wait for the perfect moment, and when it came we’d run outside hand-in-hand through the eye of the hurricane as my mother screamed from the front porch for us to come back inside. We’d run through the streets while the most dangerous parts of the storm surrounded our little bubble of safety. We’d drive to the beach before they came and stand in the rain, watching surfers tear it up on a an almost barren stretch of Miami Beach. The hurricanes made us wild, made us everything we were supposed to be.

    There are a lot of downsides to hurricanes. There’s damage and expense and fear and even death. But there’s something about all that bad that seems to bring out the good in people. There’s nothing like a city falling apart to bring its inhabitants together. There’s nothing like a tropical storm to make you appreciate the Florida sun. So call me crazy, but I’ll always believe that there’s nothing like the perfect storm.
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