It's been a year since Milenyo. A year since I woke up to the glare of the after-the-storm sun and saw these:
But the day after was not just about destruction and loss. It wasn't just about the prospect of dark, "powerless" nights and--as a visiting friend put it--shoulders weighed down by hopelessness. The day after was for drying out, for picking up the pieces and sponging out the mess. It was about surveying the scene and deciding that the loss is not that insurmountable.
Before Milenyo, storms in these parts were measured against Sisang, a particularly strong typhoon that hit ground 20 years ago. I wasn't around then, but I was told that the destruction was just terrible. Now, whenever there's talk of yet another storm, we pray that it won't be another Milenyo. And we prepare for the worst.
I don’t know, but where I come from, storms do have a way of drawing people together. Maybe it’s the cloud of uncertainty; of not knowing what the next day would be like after the destruction. Or maybe it is a matter of perspective: at the end of it all, it is not what was lost that is important: it is what remains.
A year later, we are back to normal. The leaves are back on the trees, houses have been repaired and we are all the wiser with memories of yet another of life's storms.