Stories that Matter

Eye On The Storm


Here on the island, we’re watching the weather. Hurricane Cristobel is churning up the Atlantic, pushing up the east coast and planning a drive-by sometime between tomorrow and Thursday evening. Who can know, really, what will happen. Who can predict what the monster that is the sea will do when she is angry? 

Mother Nature cares not for man’s plans. Nor does she give a whit that I’m supposed to be on a plane out of here tomorrow…

Such is life. 

Storms happen. 


It’s calm out there now, but the wind is starting to rattle the windows. The waves are getting restless. The sky has morphed into a thickening mass of gray. There is trouble brewing. And soon our view will change. 


We have things we do here when storms come. We stock up on batteries, fresh water, tinned foods, non-perishables. Rum. I have done none of the aforementioned. (Except the rum). If it’s particularly threatening, we’ll put up the plywood and secure the shutters. Our homes are built to withstand the wind – cement brick nowadays, but limestone when it was plentiful back in de day on de rock – they don’t blow down easy. So we get ready, make some Dark & Stormy’s, turn on the Weather Channel, and we watch. 

But after a while, if you keep your eye on the storm too long, a funny thing happens.


It creeps in, just a little at first. What if those windows we didn’t board up get smashed? What if this thing gets bigger? What if it changes track and heads straight for us? Panic floods faster than an overflowing pool, rises quicker than the waves and churns up the guts. It smacks headaches onto foreheads and creates havoc in households where people just want to keep calm, dammit. 

Next thing you know, you’re desperately scrambling to get the next plane out. 

And there isn’t one.

I should know. 

I spend too much time watching storms. I let them build and build and build until I’ve got a cyclone on my hands and I’m swept right up into the middle of it. And there is nowhere to go. By that time, it’s too late to batten down the hatches. I’m done. I let the monster in and it won. And sometimes the damage is irreparable. 

Sometimes we forget to put down anchor. Forget that ‘this too shall pass…’ Because it will. It may not be a whole lot of fun to ride out, (hence the Dark & Stormy’s), but it won’t last forever. Storms rarely do. They will come and they will go. What you do with the wind is your call. 

But hope. 

Always hope. 

Eventually the dawn will break, ushering in a new day.

And an evening calm. 


How are you doing with your storms? 



  1. Elaine Stock on August 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Cathy–wow–you’ve really spoken to me this evening. You’re so right–watching storms too closely only leads to panic (because you take your eyes off the only One who can help), and this is whether it’s by nature or on a human level (fretting over the problem-of-the-day). Thanks for this medicine!

    • Cathy West on August 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Now if I can only remember to take my own advice…lol!! 🙂

  2. Elaine Stock on August 27, 2014 at 4:48 am

    So sorry–I meant to tell you that you’re in my prayers for safety.

  3. gene on September 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I was in Haiti two years ago when hurricane Isaac was approaching. My wife text me and asked if I could fly out before it hit. My response was, “Are you nuts, I’ve always wanted to see a hurricane.” Storms are one of the few things that scare me these days. I like the feeling, it makes me feel young again. It demonstrates great power and in a strange way causes me to feel at the mercy of God. Maybe the best thing about them is that when I see that I survived I am that more confident to face the next one. Similar to exercising faith, it gets stronger with use.

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