Dark clouds are moving in fast from the west, and a lone seagull floats across the sky, followed by another, and then another, their wings outstretched and motionless, riding the wind. So beautiful and ominous, days like this. Across the bay in Marin, there could be 8 to 10 inches of rain in the next few days. People in low-lying places are stockpiling sandbags. Tomorrow, my husband is to visit a friend there who lives in a senior residence adjacent to a tidal area. At high tide, the water laps at nearby walkways. With 10 inches of rain, it’ll probably cover them and much more–hopefully not the ground floor of the building.
An article in today’s New York Times describes the plight of home-owners in coastal areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy. People not only have to clean up after the hurricane and meet newly imposed building codes, they now will be required to have flood insurance on houses they own, and insurance rates have gone through the roof. The combined effect is expected to drive out middle- and low-income families who’ve lived there for generations and leave those areas as “playgrounds for the well-to-do.”
There’s no easy answer. It makes no sense to use government tax revenue to rebuild houses that will only be flooded again, especially since the problem will be widespread in coming years, with rising sea levels and mega-storms along both coasts. But only rich people can afford to rebuild without help. Barring government intervention, there will be “a massive displacement of low-income families from their historic communities,” according to a member of the New York Planning Commission.
Displacement is a worldwide phenomenon these days. I have been lucky in my life not to wander the world without a home.
Dark now, and rain starting. Made banana nut bread from overly ripe bananas and the house feels cozy and smells good. The gray cat is half on the couch and half on my right arm, which makes working on the laptop challenging. I’ve moved her at least three times, but she returns looking woebegone, and I relent. Whatever story I devise as to what I’m doing in this world, I am sober and I keep the cats happy.
A Handy Sun
I like to warm myself
by the sun inside me.
Slowly I stretch
my four paws and my tail,
I close my eyes
How good to own
a portable sun.