This past weekend my friend Elizabeth and I went to see her mom and sister in Scottsdale, Arizona. We stayed in a beautiful hotel, The Scottsdale Resort. I don't believe I've ever had a finer experience with a hotel. The staff was accomodating in every way imaginable, all the amenities were either free or reasonable, and it was convenient to where we had to be.
Unfortunately, there was something going on back in North Carolina (and up the east coast): Hurricane Irene. Elizabeth and I would get up in the morning, grab our coffee and start reading or watching the television for news of the storm. I have daughters and other family at various intervals along our eastern border and I was in touch with them too. Elizabeth was talking to her husband often as they live in Pamlico County in NC.
The news was everywhere and the challenge was to separate the hype from the reality of the situation.
Meanwhile in Scottsdale, things were hot and brown. One hundred fourteen degrees all three days. My favorite expression of the weekend when we walked outside was, "Great! The heat's on!" I've never experienced heat like that. Is dry heat better, as they say? I can only say that anywhere that you are so hot the sweat dries as it pops out is too darn hot!
We tried to distract ourselves. We had drinks in the cabana where cool mist sprayed on us periodically.
We swam in swimming pools.
We had manicures and massages.
We took an early morning hike at a nearby park.
Modern communication methods were a blessing. In Elizabeth's town, there is an online news site, and she was able to follow day by day what was going on. However, it was very distressing for her to scroll down and see her house and office being flooded.
The last morning we were there, we had a wonderful brunch at the hotel. We smiled for the cameras, but I know Elizabeth was anxious to get home and see what had happened to her hometown. They are in the process of cleaning up and assessing the damages, as are thousands of others. There wasn't much she could have done while we were out of town, and I hope in some way that the trip was a diversion from what she faced on Monday morning.
On the plane going home, my IPod played Let It Rain by Luciano Pavarotti and Jon Bon Jovi. I began to cry, Pavarotti's beautiful voice the catalyst. Once I got home, I looked up the lyrics. They seemed fitting for the weekend of the storm and the time with Elizabeth's family.
Last night I had a dream; that there would be a morning after.
Long days, sunshine and peace;
Long nights of love, forgiveness, and laughter.
Maybe it was just a dream, but it could be reality.
Children are like planting seeds, you’ve got to let their flowers grow.
Fà che piova, (Let it rain)
Fà che il cielo mi lavi il dolore (Let heaven wash away my pain)
Fà che piova (Let it rain)
che sia la pace il nome d'amore (That peace would be the name of love)