When The Elements Fight Back!
By Bill Shepard
When the elements fight back, as they sometimes do, the earthly inhabitants are at their mercy. All of man’s military might is no match for the fury of an angry element unleashing its power on those in its path. In recent days millions have been witness to what happens when the elements fight back!
Hurricane Harvey vented his fury on the state of Texas and made his place in history. Millions felt the pain and will go on feeling it for a long, long time.
Hurricane Irma followed on the heels of Harvey and after leaving a path of destruction elsewhere blew into the sunshine state and began venting its anger against the inhabitants there. From Key West to Jacksonville it left a path of destruction while millions were helpless to defend themselves. By the time Inna reached Georgia and the Carolinas much of its strength had been spent and we here in the upstate were spared much of what others experienced. We may not be as fortunate the next time and we can rest assured there will be a next time!
What does it all mean? Our scientists explain it using terms and words few of us understand, but disaster is a language that is easily understood and that seems to be the language of the elements. Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, el ninos, and hurricanes all speak that language, and the peoples of all nations understand it!
For much too long, man has treated the place where he lives as though he and he alone owns it, and gives not enough thought that he is privileged to use it only for a short time. He has pushed and shoved and taken at will all his selfish desires. In his quest for gain and pleasure and luxury he has moved closer to the seashore and oceans. These are the paths that hurricanes and storms have traveled since time began! Build your dream home or business in their paths and you can expect to be blown away! Your wood, stone, and steel will not be able to stand! As man builds his walls stronger the power of the storms increase.
I have given much thought this week about a hurricane that happened a very long time ago. It happened almost ninety years ago’ It was September of 1928, this writer was six years old! Yes! I remember well the results of that hurricane that blew along the eastern coastline leaving a path of destruction behind. Of course, I did not know what was happening, we had no way of knowing! We had no radio, no telephones, no advance warnings of any kind, but is started raining. “September Gales” everyone said, there was nothing new about that. Folk in the village where I lived looked for them every September! That was the time to plant their winter greens of turnips, mustard, kale, etc. After several days of non-stop rain, the little creek that flowed through the village began to leave its banks. The house where this writer witnessed it all was nearest to the creek. The rain kept falling and the creek kept rising. The tunnels that were built to allow the creek to flow through the railroad embankment became clogged with falling debris. The embankment became a dam holding back the water. The water drew nearer to our house, even began to enter inside. Men from the village came to help move our belongings from the house. Then it happened! The railroad embankment gave way, allowing the water to pass through and onward. The pictures of all this can be seen on page 76 of Horace Rudisill’s book, Pictorial Historv of Darlington County. The house where I lived is shown, and is still standing today.
In the days and weeks ahead, I watched the new bridges that crossed the creek being built, also the trestle that is still standing.
Are the elements fighting back? Some would say they are! Perhaps we would do well to consider the place where we live is not our own, and treat it as though it belongs to another. It is doubtful that any generation of people have polluted the planet as much as our own. We have filled the heavens with flying objects our seas, rivers, and oceans with every kind of debris, and even the good earth where we grow the food we eat, we continue to pollute.
Are the elements fighting back? You be the judge! This we know, we are helpless when they do!
Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. He is the author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week. His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C. 29673.