This week has been a challenging week as hurricane Irma has been approaching Florida as a category 5 hurricane, a potentially life-threatening and life-changing event. I spent the earlier part of the week planning and preparing to evacuate. My fiance and I left late Wednesday evening after a long day of work. We wanted to get a head start at getting on the road, especially when everyone else we knew was waiting until Thursday or Friday. So we left at around 7:45 at night.
We had to move some things away from all the windows of our apartment because where we live, we’re not allowed to board up or use any special hurricane safety things to protect our apartment. However, we still wanted to do the best we could to eliminate risks to some of our belongings. In all honesty, it didn’t feel like we could do much. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, we know we tried our best and we knew we needed to think about our own safety first. After all, things are replaceable, we’re not.
So we packed up our vehicles and set out for a long drive to Nashville Tennessee, where my fiance’s company outsources some of their companies needs. My fiance and several others from his company needed to be available to help sort out potential business problems that could arise. So we’re blessed that his company was paying for us and the others and their families hotel, travel, and food. As we took off on our traveling adventure you could already see the roads becoming busy and filled with people hurriedly preparing materials for their homes, for travel, and actually traveling along out of state, just as we were doing.
The first night we drove about 3 hours and decided to find a hotel with the intention of getting a good nights rest before our travels the next day. We were planning on reaching Georgia and finding a hotel. Looking back, we should have called ahead for a hotel in Georgia. However, we were unsure how far we’d get into Georgia as we knew the traffic was already hectic and would only potentially get worse along the way (which is definitely an understatement of what really happened).
Unfortunately, when we got into Georgia at around 8:00 Thursday evening, traffic was back to back for hours. We were literally driving at an average of 5-10 miles per hour, with minutes in between with no movement. At this rate, we were exhausted and decided we ought to try and find a hotel for the night. Well to our astonishment, there was nothing from the border of Georgia to the top of the state. Everyplace was sold out!
So we decided that we’d just drive until we felt like we couldn’t drive anymore (within reason of course for safety). Then like many others, we catnapped in our vehicles for a while and were back on the road and cycled through this process a few times throughout the night (just like rinse and repeat).
Now into Friday, as we drove through some of the winding roads boarded with beautiful trees beginning to change colors, I couldn’t help reflecting on childhood memories. The autumn season has always been my favorite (not just because my birthday happens to fall in September…though I’m sure that was part of it as a child). The autumn has always held a sense of wonder and magic for me. The beauty of the colors as you wind through hills and valleys, not to mention jumping into piles of leaves with your friends.
I felt blessed like I’d received a special early birthday present, the magic of autumn. This is something I’ve desperately missed every autumn since I’ve lived in FL. It made me realize the things that I hold dearest to my heart, are not items, but memories of places that I love and moments of time spent with the ones I cherish in these places. So, even if things turn out badly from the havoc of Hurricane Irma, as long as I’m safe, my most precious valuables are also safe with me, captured in my memory and in my heart.