When I was a young child, I used to have this waking dream of meeting someone and falling in love in the eye of a hurricane.
For those who don’t know, the internal nucleus of one is the safest place in a storm. If you can get past the cataclysmic walls, you will find yourself in the center of utter peace. The swirling walls suck out the outer chaos and even create less pressure so that there is complete silence—you can hear your own blood pumping in your ears.
I lived in a southern, tropical Florida town where thunderstorms and torrential rain storms were a constant and simultaneously welcomed. It was actually quite foreboding and highly romantic. The locals knew that the blistering sun would peek it’s face above the clouds soon thereafter, so we were used to the oscillating attributes of the tropical environment.
People would either go about business as usual, driving in 157 mph wind and relentless rain to the grocery store or cracking their garage door open with a picnic chair and a can of beer to watch the natural disaster, as if it were a cinematic work of art. Others become amateur storm chasers and took the thrill ride of their lives chasing after category 5 storms that had the same names as your aunt or crush you had in middle school.
Personally, I found the time before a storm highly tantalizing and evocative. I knew it was coming and would feel the air and trees sway with messages of ominous foreshadowing. Because of this, I was never afraid of anything powerful or forbidden. I felt there were symbols and messages you could learn from natural disasters that were out of your control.
I grew up exposed to human vulnerability in many forms that I never viewed success, normalcy, and having a secure life through the eyes of a plastered society as reputable or truly believable. I genuinely understood that an authentic life is more poetic than the things we strive for in advertising or trying to escape by fruitlessly looking for the elusive albatross by imitating provocative storylines through films that we create to mimic what we have already been knee-deep submerged in. It is an effort to face ourselves.
But are we facing ourselves? And are we truly facing each other? I remember realizing as a young child I dreamt up meeting someone I could fall in love with specifically, and only in the eye of a hurricane or at the end of the world—it was because, in those moments, you had nothing to hide. One has no ego to viciously hold onto as one realizes in the realm and midst of a natural disaster that all you have been spending your time defending was truly meant for someone to break your walls down. Again, highly romantic. Like the end scene of Fight Club. You know you replayed that scene over again because you knew this was real in the midst of a fucked up world.
I guess natural disasters do that to people. They remind us of our frailty, sensuality, and vulnerability, that we are animals, flesh and bone, as well as a throbbing spirit. We recognize community and loyalty, and our empathy finally comes to the surface. We are all on an equal playing ground—statuses drop and we are both as helpless as one newly birthed from the womb. It was the only time, during Hurricane Season, that my neighbors came to me with sincerity while my mother gave water to broken water lines.
Natural disasters made me accept an individual in the midst of everything they lost. Watching the blood and struggle during these moments made me feel deeply connected to another. I would sit and comfort others, almost taken aback by the strength of vulnerability. This is only hitting the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the spiritual significance of falling in love in the middle of a disaster.
In the rest of my dream, it continues to two pulsating souls, staring into each other, completely stripped down in the center of the eye of this storm. And we simply whisper “Why did we wait this long to meet?” and the dream ends.