Beauty from destruction

image courtesy of

Summer is a relative term when you live in Houston. Warm weather typically comes in March, followed by hot, humid weather which can stretch into November or even December. We basically have two seasons: hot and wet and cold and wet. Summer months also beckon a reality which all of us within reach of the Gulf of Mexico must contend with: hurricane season.

On September 13, 2008 Hurricane Ike came ashore and covered most of Galveston Island in a tidal surge. The damage was extensive and far reaching. Entire neighborhood were completely wiped out. Beautiful, historical landmarks were taken out to sea. The following video gives a brief glimpse into the damage caused by the hurricane. If you don’t want to watch the entire video, I suggest you begin at the 6:00 minute mark. Those pictures are very telling.

Most people know Galveston for her beaches. What you may not know is that it is so much more. Downtown Galveston, or “The Strand” as it is often referred to, is rich in history. Beautifully restored Victorian homes are a huge tourist attraction. Grand oak trees lined the neighborhood streets. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ike destroyed many of these majestic trees.

But Texans are nothing if not resilient. Instead of using chain saws to remove what was left of the trees, residents and artists chose to find beauty from the chaos and destruction. Many thanks to my friend Marni White who first brought this story to my attention.

Storms, in one form or another, come to all of us. Given enough advanced notice, we can choose to flee from them or hunker down and ride them out. Regardless of how we choose to deal with them, sooner or later we are faced with the aftermath of their destruction. Some choose to ignore the damage. They pretend that the damage never really happened. If they overlook the destruction and chaos, they can live safely in the comfort of the lives they lived before the storm wreaked havoc. This may work for awhile, but in the end, living in the aftermath while pretending it never happened may prove to be more damaging than the storms themselves. So intent are they to recapture their pre-storm lives, that they fail to see what beautiful lessons and opportunities the storms, while destructive, have to offer them. Perhaps even the chance to live better lives.

To say Galveston was a disaster area after Hurrican Ike would be quite an understatement, and there is still evidence all around that the rebuilding process still have a long way to go. But while the hurricane’s fury destroyed much, it also brought opportunity to bring beauty from destruction. Once the debris was cleared away, a new form of beauty could be seen. Although many ancient and lovely oaks were lost in the hurricane, the residents and artists of Galveston created life-affirming works of art from the trunks of these once majestic trees.

But to truly appreciate the beauty, first you have to remove the debris. And to remove the debris, you first have to admit that you’re surrounded by it.

This post is part of the blog carnival on Summer, hosted by Bridget Chumbley. To read more, please visit her site.

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