I'm enough of a worrywart to begin with, but recent events throughout the globe have me even more pensive than I would normally be. In Myanmar, the official death toll is now more than 43,000, but the Red Cross estimates the number of deaths to be somewhere between 68,833 and 127,990. Myanmar's military, the junta, are currently poised on the precipice of their very own Katrina debacle, on a much broader scale, as they refuse to allow foreign aid workers into the country to help distribute aid to the survivors.
In China, the death toll from a killer earthquake could reach 50,000, with more than 12,000 still buried and more than 100,000 injured.
We're not even midway through 2008 and already a tremendous number of people have felt the cold hand of nature's unpredictable, volatile temper.Is global warming the cause, as Al Gore has suggested? Or has Mother Nature just finally gotten so pissed at our treatment of her beloved Earth that she's fighting back? And do these recent disasters portend an even more dangerous year?
Ready or not, here it comes...hurricane season. A mere 16 days to prepare. Are we ready? Our floodwalls are filled with newspaper. Our levees are substandard. One can't help but wonder what's in store for us.
No one really wants to play the pessimist, but plans must be made, and while I try to keep my car in decent shape and my tank full, my personal plans haven't extended beyond that.
Am I prepared? Would I stay? Would I leave? What would it take? A tropical storm would probably not force me to evacuate, but a hurricane would most likely see me hitting the highway.
Where will I go? I've not even begun to think that far ahead. I spent the days after Katrina in Mississippi, then home in Pennsylvania, then back to New York City.
I relied heavily on friends and family during that time, but it was months before I returned to retrieve my belongings and a year and a half before I returned for good.
I have no intention of going that far north again should the need to evacuate arise. I want to be able to come back.
I have to come back.
But am I ready? No, I am not ready. I'm not ready at all. But ready or not, here it comes...