THE STORM BRINGS PROMISE OF HOPE
By Kat Stickroth
The terrific windstorm the other night really rattled my nerves. It brought back my experience during Hurricane Katrina.
In August 2005 the robotic voice of our weather radio blared, “Catastrophic Katrina. Make preparations,” then described its location and estimated time of approach. Richard and I lived about 70 miles north of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. There was no doubt the beach land would get clobbered, but it was perplexing that our area was being forewarned. Past hurricanes had only brought us gusty winds with a splattering of rain.
But Katrina had other intentions. Once she devastated the Coast and headed northward, she paused over us. For eight merciless hours she sat and pounded us with over 100 mile per hour winds- I’ll never forget the incessant roar of that gale, like a thousand freight trains.
By the time Katrina finished her work, and ambled on with a whisper of a light drizzle, the roof and ceiling of our living room were pierced with huge limbs and the floor soaked by hours of gushing rain. An immense oak tree lay atop our bed, where we had been lying only minutes before its crashing intrusion. We crawled through the downed tree on our porch and stepped carefully over horizontal tree trunks toward the road, where we stood with our neighbors in stunned silence. Thousands of pine trees were downed, piled up as that child’s game “Pick Up Sticks.” The sight was beyond comprehension.
This memory kept me sleepless during the other night’s tempest. But in the next day’s rising sunshine, I gazed out my window toward Ruby Peak, and a rainbow’s glowing colors stretched before me.
I had to run some things to a friend’s house that morning. Driving along, I saw my first bluebird of Spring perched on a fence row. On my way home, another rainbow hovered in a different direction.
Noah’s Bible story of old came to mind. Having weathered a harrowing storm of destruction, Noah was given a rainbow, placed by God as a promise of assurance. This symbolic arc continues to remind me that storms can be endured and rainbows wait on the other side.
Hurricane Katrina left an unnatural stark sky which lasted for months. The rainbow from that storm took eight years to appear. I found it here in Wallowa County, a land of rainbows which never stops promising hope to this Wallowa Gal.
Originally published March 16, 2016 in the La Grande Observer. Reprinted with permission.