I married a strong and a proud man. He may have been born in Pointe Claire, but he has always been Bahamian strong and proud. It’s a “Bahamian ting”.
He walks and talks like he was raised in those jungles on the edge of the coral seas, because he was. He feels those palm trees’ strength in his veins even as he watches them bend in half to the will of the hurricane. He grew up swimming in those waves, big ones, little ones, riptides or undertows, be damned. He knows that surf, the wind the rains, intimately. They are his home.
He loves hurricanes. He lives for the all-encompassing energy that feeds his soul as he goes through them. They are in his blood. They are his soul.
And he knows their pain.
He knows the damage they can cause.
As a boy he learned to prepare for the coming storm, ensuring everything was nailed solidly down; that nothing could be picked up by the wind and used as “a sail”.
Every year those seeds of wind and water begin their curly little way across the Atlantic from Africa. And Greg says look, Tina, this one will be a Cat 2 or a 3 and he tracks it until it makes landfall and dies. He anticipates the ones that will hard hit the Bahamas. He always wishes he were there, not just to feel the winds and the rains, but to help prepare for them, and ensure everything is locked down and safe. And also to be there in the aftermath, to feel the camaraderie and strength of the Bahamian hive mind kicking into gear and helping each other rebuild.
Today, I see a man who appears to have entirely fallen out of love with the thing he loves most in the world.
Tomorrow, Greg will go to a meeting at the Bahamian High Commissioner’s in Ottawa.
After that meeting, we will have ideas about what better we can do to help.
I saw an interview with a woman in Marsh Harbour with nothing but clear devastation disappearing into the ocean behind her. Asked what they needed most, she replied, “homes”.
Here is a first hand account from a Bahamian writer who is also quite used to hurricanes — But not this one.