Blow Wind Blow

By Will Baker

It was a wild evening last night. We were startled awake at around 3:00 AM as near seventy mile an hour winds buffeted our little house. It is now mid-morning, the power has been flickering, the television is out, but as I write, thankfully my family is snug and secure. The wind is still blowing at about 35 and gusting to 50 miles per hour. And about thirty five thousand people are without power in Addison and Rutland Counties. This morning I spoke to a friend of mine who lives on the shore of Lake Champlain, and he reported huge lake swells, the likes of which he'd never seen. Large pleasure boats have been washed ashore and are lying on their sides. The Lake Champlain ferries are certainly not running today.

As of this writing there have been eighteen deaths nation-wide associated with Tropical Storm Floyd. There was local tragedy included in this tally. I understand that one of the eighteen victims was killed when a tree fell on his camper. He was a Michigan man visiting Vermont on vacation. Roads are flooded and tree limbs are down. Our little community is pretty much a mess. But it could have been worse. Works crews are on the job and folks effected by the storm are busy trying to reestablish order in their lives. I am always amazed at how resilient the human spirit is. And I have no doubt that if the weather forecast holds true and the sun comes out tomorrow, memories of this storm will quickly fade.

I hadn’t intended to write on this topic this morning. Instead, the subject was to have been the recent spate of apartment building bombings throughout Russia. But it occurs to me that there is a connection to what my family personally experienced early this morning and what the folks in Russia might be feeling. My family was afraid this morning. We weren’t terrified, but we were certainly too upset to sleep after being awakened by such violent wind.

Fear is a powerful emotion, and when people decide to use it as a weapon against others, I imagine that it can be quite effective. It seems to me that this is what might be occurring in Russia. If these bombings are politically motivated, as I believe that they probably are, then folks have, once again, decided to use terror as a means of achieving a political objective.

But what does this mean? Are the terrorists evil people, or are they basically good people who believe that they have exhausted all of their more conventional options for effecting political change. Can good people do evil things, and if so does that then make them evil people? As I ponder these questions the wind driven rain is pounding against the windows of our house. But I can tell that the wind is abating. Things are getting better. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

But what of the folks in Russia, the terror they must certainly be feeling has not been induced by an act of nature that, no matter how violent it may be it will eventually blow itself out, but rather by acts of insanity, with no linear progressions. At least that’s how it appears to me. However, I believe that, given the resiliency of the human spirit which I touched on above, political gains realized as a result of using terrorism can only be short term gains at best.

I will write more on this subject in the future. But as for now, I need to put on my rain slicker and go outside to take a look around. I need to make sure that the roof of our house, and everything else is okay, then I need to check on our neighbors.

 (Essay Collection)