The Day after Maria hit and for much of the week to come I never went further than a few feet from my little dry space – but I saw many unforgettable things …..
THE FIRST EARLY MORNING
….. my house was a wading pool with inches of light brown water on the floor in every room but the kitchen in some places deeper than others. Furniture made of cheap pressed wood was swelling and disintegrating.
….. a twisted bent piece of galvanized roofing that was twice my height in length, imbedded firmly in the the cement wall just a foot from my front door causing me to climb over it to get out.
….. my 80 + year old landlord in his bare feet climbing over the piles of twisted bent galvanize roofing intertwined with huge tree branches and household goods trying to get to his place.
….. that without me knowing it my landlord and his wife had gone outside in the eye of the storm after their roof blew off and the next door neighbours had braved the storm to bring them to safety at their place across the street.
…… roosters that had survived outside without a coop lining up on the wall outside my window; homeless; their feathers wet and bedraggled; for once fairly quiet; making low sounds to each other.
….. a hummingbird whose green and purple feathers were iridescent hovering inside my apartment at the window for a long time before darting outside to the dramatically changed world that existed.
….. a tree that just last year grew in the backyard close to the house covered in juicy mangos that I could reach while standing on my balcony was lying on my landlords bed as if sleeping there.
TORRENTIAL RAINS – harder than I have ever seen.
….. a brand new brown waterfall tumbling down the hillside; across the road and spurting out feet before falling onto the ground in the small valley below.
….. rain pouring through the roof of every room in my landlords 4 bedroom house until there was inches of water on the floor.
….. more and more brown curved cracks forming in my ceiling creating a vein and artery like pattern everywhere but a small place in the kitchen.
….. rusty dirty brown water falling from from my ceiling in every room until all exposed furniture; clothing; documents; books; electrical equipment were sodden with it.
….. the dryness of the few things I was able to protect in plastic bins
SPLASHES OF INTENSE SUNLIGHT
….. brightly colored sodden clothing and bedding hanging on downed lines and tree branches as far as the eye could see.
….. mattresses perched on the back of cars in every drive way or leaning against a sunny wall on the balcony.
….. gangs of neighbours coming together on the road with cutlasses and cars to clear the road.
….. families rushing outside to clear debris and temporarily repair what they could