Sunday, August 30, 2015

Typhoon Soudelor Damage

"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!  Rage!  Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!"  -King Lear 

Maybe you've seen some of the images on the news.  The delivery truck picked-up off its wheels and spun like a top.  The Volkswagon caught in a tornado and dropped in a tree.  The 747 airplanes tied to the tarmac.  Typhoon Soudelor, which hit Taiwan Aug. 8, packed quite a punch.
 A great many typhoons hit Taiwan, most though, barely affect the city of Taichung, where we are still arduously situated.  Pounding the east coast of the island, the powerful winds peter out across a large mountain range and barely manage more than a whimper over our fair town.
 Soudelor was different.  Hitting around midnight with salacious winds.  I was forced to move all the balcony furniture inside and tied the (impregnable) barbecue to the rails, which still slid across the surface 23 floors up to my terror. Plates of metal and corrugated steel tumbled from building tops.  Wrought iron gates toppled and slammed onto cement.  Chunks of asphalt lifted out of the earth and slammed into cars.
 Thousands of city  trees, whose roots had not firmly taken hold of the earth, snapped like twigs, but to really convey the damage, these trunks were thick as a man's thigh.
 The whole night I couldn't sleep.  From midnight until 7 a.m. I laid by the balcony door and listened to the screaming and howling wraith-like wind.  The girls huddled together in the other room, safe from exploding window glass.  Our apartment shook from the wind, a slow and steady swaying back and forth.  Not an earthquake shake... a terrible vertical rumbling that sends you racing for the doorway as coffee mugs roll off the counter and pictures fall from the walls... No, this swaying was like a dull roller-coaster...a bed spin of fear.  In all these years of living here, this was my longest night.
I don't expect much from the world anymore.  I certainly don't ask for anything.  I've come to learn that just when you are most happy and filled with a sense of calm and serene joy, that's when the rug is pulled out from you.  But the following morning, when the rain stopped for a moment and the eye of the typhoon passed overhead, I did peer up into the heavens and was glad.  A rare feeling these days.  We'd made it, we all had, to fight another day.

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