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Image by The National Hurricane Center 2022

“Sunrise to Sunset”

October 8, 2022

By Kimmy Foulds

A monumental image of the dangerous, high-end Category 4 Hurricane Ian’s eye, that tackled Southwest Florida Wednesday afternoon, September 28, 2022. The National Hurricane Center warned of “life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flooding” with mandatory evacuations in the hardest, vulnerable red A, B, C zones that smashed this Atlantic coastline.

As the distinguishable angry Hurricane Ian approached Southwest Florida, the severe mayhem stalled and circulated aloft each town for hours that lingered with exacerbation among captives as the intensified cyclone obliterated neighborhoods in this Southern region of the United States.

Over 2 million residents were left afraid in the traumatized evening of Hurricane Ian without power and no running water to quinch the overwhelming thirst of fright. Lunged into survival modes not knowing the end results of clarity, churning thoughts of bewilderment snuck into the days that blended into the nights with tears, fears, anxiety, hunger and loneliness.

Indescribable ferocious sounds and heartbreaking thumped emotions transformed surroundings of paradise into intense horror the first 24 hours as Hurricane Ian crashed on land that continued into a long week and beyond with heartache, despair, magnitudes of uncertainty while search, recovery, rescue, restore and repair were the uncommon commonalities.

Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images/WGCU Staff 2022

This aerial view of the Sanibel Island causeway shows sections of the bridge that tumbled into the Gulf of Mexico. Floridians were mentally polarized to comprehend this iconic bridge is no longer accessible by vehicle to Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Many misplaced dwellers were isolated to realize the reality of no communication, no cell service, no transportation to attempt help for charging power or fundamental necessities. These individuals were stuck yet were prudent to evacuate in the brief notice when mandatory red zones were confirmed by officials. They did try fervently to take heed. If they had the means in every ability, they would have fled for safety. They were classified in the group to shelter in place; stay put and brace safely. They were overlooked by emergency agencies before, during and after the explosive Hurricane Ian. The gruesome media statement ignited heightened terror when an announcement, “First Responders Were Not Responding,” was made shortly prior to Hurricane Ian’s menaced collision on Southwest Florida.

Image by Wilfredo Lee/AP 2022

Five collapses were sadly discovered on Sanibel Island bridge that demolished this causeway by Hurricane Ian’s repercussions Thursday, September 29, 2022. The once only overpass to drive to and from Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Southwest Florida will be redesigned and rebuilt for sustainable reconstruction.

As the outside environment was radically torn apart, people in protected refuge heard bellows of whistles that replicated blasts of rattled trains, vicious thrashes as if the dark side pounded on doors to pierce inside and frantically saw brutal unidentified objects that flew and tossed in the air that smacked or ricocheted off of windows, watched and heard bubbled seepage or rushed rain water with forced entrance into homes that resembled a gushing sinking ship, majestic tall Queen Anne palm trees were elastically bent to the ground and palm fronds snapped as they speared and flailed to yards and patios.

Image by Wilfredo Lee/AP 2022

A vision of Sanibel Island causeway from Hurricane Ian’s aftermath Thursday, September 29, 2022. A symbol memory of the foundational access road to walk or roll to and from Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Southwest Florida has been inconceivably altered. The picturesque bridge was admired to trundle with ease and relaxation as travelers savored the gorgeous sights of sparkling, shimmering saltwater.

Looming cycles of disbelief followed Hurricane Ian that drastically paralleled the recuperation from a major operation with complications. Opportunities to reset this renowned landmark is being discussed for a viable and significant infrastructure in Southwest Florida.

Image by Andrew West/The News-Press 2022

This pictorial former Fort Myers Beach pier upholds the cherished memories that greeted friendly locals and visitors for decades in Southwest Florida to experience and marvel the Sunshine State’s sunrises and sunsets.

As the eye of the plowed hurricane wobbled the Southwest Florida coast in stages, disasters of Hurricane Ian reeled and destroyed beautiful architecture, structures, objects, properties. All wiped out, dismantled or sunk. Storm surges up to 15 feet of fierce madness plunged on shore with the 155 spinning MPR winds and a notable, largest individual 52 foot high wave in the Gulf of Mexico when Hurricane Ian slammed landfall in Southwest Florida.

Image by Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post 2022

Now, the unforgettable Fort Myers Beach pier is seen as a reminder after Hurricane Ian’s rage roared across Estero Island, which will be rebuilt with the sincerity of love to reunite the kindred spirited community of Fort Myers Beach.

Eventually, trucks started to roll the streets overtly displaying the American flag of patriotism and glory. Looting triggered curfews to be policed and reinforced with National Guard manpower. Vehicle gas lines were as long as a stretch of pavement the length of a football stadium. Fortunately, sunny Florida weather shifted to cooler temperatures that were a relief from humidity especially without electricity to operate air conditioning and without any chance of rain in the near forecast.

Clean up of notorious, smelly remnants from storm surges began by shoveling, collecting and disposing stinky garbage, sticky insulation, sharp building supplies, household furnishings, uprooted solid hefty trees, thrown tropical foliage, sand, mud, guck. Flooded cars and boats were abandoned with packed sludge or debris on top, in the interiors and caked on adhesive sea salt.

Image by Wilfredo Lee/AP 2022

Stacked boats and rubble along the Southwest Florida’s coastline by Hurricane Ian’s frenzy dropped a trail of hazardous footprints in its erratic path.

By cause of this monstrous storm, massive undertakings were and are being surveyed and reported from the gravity of serious magnitude and dismay. Simulating a war zone to have seen on television or movies, the entire Southwest Florida six counties suddenly stopped everyday routines in the approximately 6,023 square miles of land area. Over 21,000 volunteers from other states joined professionals to retrieve electricity, re-establish water, batten broken sewer lines, arranged food banks, set up power charging pods plus more acts of kindness. Medical attention was sought and assisted to the impaired survivors in acute need. Scared neighbors and crying strangers helped and encouraged each other amid heart wrenching agonies that shook their inner core.

Roads and waterways were blocked by fallen fragments and quickly worked on by trained personnel with search and rescue teams and the U.S. Coastguard. Daily convoy parades were led by official vehicles of constant sirens and flashing emergency warning lights as tow trucks hauled porta potties, porta showers, airboats, jet skis, swamp buggies and first responders navigated confidently from omitted traffic and pedestrians as Chinooks, Black Hawks and rotorcraft military helicopters chopped above in the open clear blue cumulus cloudy skies.

Image by Kevin Fogarty/Reuters 2022

Havoc by Hurricane Ian barreled relentlessly on Pine Island, the largest barrier island off Southwest Florida leaving the authentic Florida old charm fishing community now solely reachable by boat or air. Though a temporary gravel channel link is under construction as a band aid fix for locals, action plans are already being developed to permanently bond Pine Island to the mainland.

Ironically, decisions to accommodate those in dire straits of communication and assistance were ignored. Proud politicians made public declarations that satellite trucks were available to charge electronic devices, water was recovered in certain counties with a boiling water requirement alert and allotted designated Florida disaster funds specifically for individuals who lost income during Hurricane Ian.

Contemplations were witnessed as obstacles for the people who did not have transportation to receive charged power for communications, nor the populace who did not have electricity to boil water or living under restrictions that did not allow generators or barbeque grills to have boiled the water and an unreachable, convoluted Florida disaster 800 phone number with an unfathomable wait period exceeding 438 minutes to then be disconnected by the agency. Miscommunications were and still are a disgrace on a large scale between local and national government officials stating proclamations and updates that have created uncontrollable fatigue and confusion for the recipients.

Image by Darron R. Silva/Special To The Naples Daily News 2022

Boats were yanked out of harbor slips that were descended and plopped on terrain while frameworks were whisked in the morphed gusts and shattered by Hurricane Ian at Naples Bay of Southwest Florida.

Awakened without electricity, clocks, noise were adjustments that messed up time and regimes. Reassurance with energized recognition emerged praise to glean birds chirp, doves coo that replaced squealing car engines, shouts from humans. Wildlife became the timekeeper during this ordeal with their patterned behaviors. Upheaval turned to observations. Seeing butterflies flutter and wasps swiftly propel their wings, ducks in fresh formed pools of ponds, egrets precisely stepping in surge sand with their delicate nature. Hearing gentle rumbles of power generators, drilling noises of pressure washing tools, vibrating water pumps, high-pitched whines of leaf blowers, non-resonant seared chain saws thudding in ear shot.

Image by Crystal Vander Weit/Treasure Coast – TCPalm 2022

The treasured beacon lighthouse of Sanibel Island stands firm and strong as Hurricane Ian bulldozed endlessly with its surreal eruption in Southwest Florida. As an apocalypse bomb-like scene, Sanibel Island and all Southwest Florida are undergoing a transitional restoration process with resiliency in practice for months and years ahead. The historical storm phenomenon took a toll on human, animal and marine life mostly due to drownings and wind destruction.

Mandatory evacuation for individuals who sheltered in place led to mandatory halt and mandatory rest to supply enough vigor to last an era. Wise old folks clutched their hand-held battery transistor radios to be attached with civilization. Imagination creeped in to wonder what life encountered in the 1400s and pondered pilgrim skills to ration food in the bare kitchen cupboards. Longing for hot brewed coffee was a daily occurrence. When electricity miraculously flickered on the sixth day, the stunning shake of amazement was like clinging to a life preserver ring in the ocean to grip the complex connection both mentally as a dream and for real.

The joy faded within an elated 30 minutes with the upside that cell phones and back up power packs were hurriedly plugged in the system sockets. The juice was barely enough to reach ten percent of battery for one device. By the eighth day, trickles of light illuminated lethargically with consecutive electrical interruptions and Mesozoic dim internet access on this eleventh day of Hurricane Ian’s intimate journey as this article was written.

Image by Pixabay 2022

Global warming and climate change are evident requirements to take active action to improve the future world. Hurricane Ian has been another calamity to learn from past, current and scientific tragedies to integrate and implement knowledge toward a thriving environment for ensuing generations. Elements of Hurricane Ian will be flipped into an imperishable, stronger Southwest Florida that will sustain and reclaim the beloved spectacular beaches and balanced lifestyle, magical charisma.

Southwest Florida landscape will forever be adorned as the coastline of breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and activities of utopia. To have been pressed and stressed from ruinous climatic enclosures, there has also been a shedding of the past to hold dear sweet reflections in mind, body and soul to be woven in forthcoming enchantment. Perceived repose was welcomed as a silver lining through experienced quiet shock, silent mourning that mutated into a harmonious thankful demeanor.

Image by Pixabay 2022

An astounding consciousness of Hurricane Ian’s wrath has become an array of feelings from unsettled fury to flows of contented calmness to be alive.

The author’s story was based on factual weary personal events expressively shared and spared from the turbulent tempest attack on Southwest Florida. With an endearing positive outlook, shining stars in the heavens will be enhanced with meaning and heartfelt narratives will cheerfully regain composure. Without electricity, noticeable twinkles in the vast nights in space have been a marvelous free planetarium theater production that has resonated little wishes to come true and trusting prayers of optimism to be answered.

For a stalled span of exhaustion and worry, the uplifting beauty of this tribulation was to always look up and tightly grasp to the utmost saving faith in Jesus Christ. Believing in God’s promises for strength and hope provide the fruit of patience in character to count each blessing as if minutes were the unexpected last. Material things can be replaced. Life on earth is final. Smile, be grateful, be kind and reach out with laughter to embrace impactful, precious moments.

Reflect, from sunrise to sunset.

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Graciously thanking everyone with grateful appreciation expressed.

Looking forward to virtually meeting and getting to know you!