K-Day! August 29, 2005, a Monday, a watershed day in American History.
It’s Saturday, 8/29/2015, as I write, sitting in our comfortable tent-trailer in Dinosaur National Monument on a beautiful day. Hot sun but cool breezes under the shady trees. Split Mountain providing an impressive backdrop to our setting with the Green River mere steps away from our campsite. Lovely. Idyllic.
Monday, 8/29/2005, ten years ago was different in so many ways. Physically, we were pleasantly settled in Chuck’s lovely suburban home with all the comforts, including a delightful pool and requisite BBQ. I was with my own family, in addition to my dad and both my sisters plus Judy’s hubby, Gary. It was wonderfully social and upbeat.
Emotionally, we feared the worst for our homes in New Orleans, actual homes for my siblings and the ZP as our little nuclear family’s travelling home-away-from-home. We were all glued to the news and had been since we’d arrived. We also feared for the safety of our other family and friends who had maybe evacuated elsewhere or maybe stayed. It was a concern. A significant concern as the news progressed through the day, although the initial reports that morning were all in the vein of “We dodged a bullet.” Damage from Katrina herself seemed, not objectively reasonable, but reasonable considering the fact that she was a huge motherfucker who had contained within her, the potential for infinite death and destruction. A false dawn of hope.
In the years since Katrina, I’ve read various authors who wrote about her. Some factual vignettes, like “4 Dead in Attic”, some fictional works, like James Lee Burke’s novel, which incorporated Katrina in their narrative. For me, none of them adequately conveyed the emotional horror of those days. Even James Lee Buke who is a brilliant author I respect completely, familiar with both the area and the maze-like convolutions of the human psyche, was unsuccessful (for me) in describing the intensity of horror in all four of its dimensions. (Or 12. Or however many there actually are.) I think it would have taken someone like H. P. Lovecraft to do justice to it. Cthulhu visits the Crescent City. Maybe Dante. Vergil says, “Follow me (into Hell… or New Orleans).”
Perhaps no one is capable of sharing a Bergsonian intuition of those times with those of us who had our own individual experiences. It’s too subjective. Too personal. Those authors who’ve written about it are simply sharing their trip through a modern “Inferno” or a visit from something older, vaster, and more deeply horrific than cuddly Cthulhu, because it was not inimical, something we can understand. We know Cthulhu hates us and *desires* greatly to devour us. It simply was being itself, with no regard, for good or ill, for the Earth virus which is humanity.
That really messes with our overweening egos.
So I know that whatever I write is merely my personal crap. One evacuee’s time spent in the extravagance of suburban Houston, with extended family, a private pool, BBQ steaks, shopping malls, and a nearby waterpark, while his hometown drowned.
But not quite yet. That is a movie titled The Horror Yet to Come. This day was horrible, terrible, not-very good news but tinged with, as I said earlier, A False Dawn of Hope.