I’m having my morning coffee on a very pleasant 68 degree September morning. Tomorrow hurricane Irma is coming to where I live. We are ready but the uncertainty and anxiety of the aftermath is another thing altogether.
Many of us who live near the Gulf of Atlantic coastal waters in the Southeast have experienced hunkering down, and the days of watching and hearing about the weather from every source, our neighbors, weather.com, and the government leaders, who tell us what, where and how to deal with our upcoming catastrophic weather event. Then there are the floods from Harvey and the fires out west. It is a time of weather unrest and as Al Gore has said, “The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real.”
Here in Tallahassee, I have two neighborhood communities, one that encompasses about ten blocks with monthly social outside yard drinks and then my smaller microcosm community that has developed on our street. In my little street neighborhood, we are all staying. Two weekends ago, I had a clay happy hour in my studio. We ate watermelons I had grown and had clay for anyone to make things. Two days from now, after Irma hits and we have no electricity, we will take stock. We will walk the neighborhood and observe the large trees that will have fallen. The air conditioning will now be off for the first time since early June. Our windows will be open to hear generators and chain saws. Afterwards, we check-in with each other and work together clearing debris, playing cards, eating and figuring it out.
We talk quite a bit about community in ceramics and it is one our strongest, most emotionally supportive attributes. We need each other at certain times, to help with technical support or to simply acknowledge each other at the finish of a long show, an installation, a marathon fair or a firing.
In the last couple of days various friends from my ceramics community have popped up offering a respite from the hurricane’s path. Others from South Florida have come up here assuming we wouldn’t be hit directly and although even that is still unclear. One thing is certain, in times of disaster we do help each other out.
For those of you who don’t have this kind of community, the two C’s in NCECA can easily be thought of as the “C” in word community. We are hoping you made it through to other side without harm. We want to know how that there are organizations to help. The major one in the crafts community is the Craft Emergency Relief Fund. CERF serves artists who work in craft disciplines by providing a safety net and offer emergency relief funds. They also take donations to help others out. Their website is https://cerfplus.org/ and they have specific websites for Harvey and Irma.