Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Renewals: Days with my brother

My brother Chris seems under two dark clouds these days, because he suffers from both Parkinson's disease and a failed marriage. He spent the last three days with me, and I hope, in his heart, they were days of lightened worries. I felt a true renewal of our relationship, and it was so good to be with him once again. We looked through old family photos, reminisced, and enjoyed a shared hobby -- photography. Chris snapped these two photos of hummingbirds visiting the feeder hanging outside my kitchen window:

We also went to the beach -- the Bolivar Peninsula where Hurricane Ike ravaged our beach community. This is an aerial view of my beloved beach after Ike. What remains of my beach cabin is in the middle of the image. Don't strain your eyes -- Only a concrete slab and a few pilings were left after the storm surge washed away my cabin and hundreds of others:

Here's a close-up of the pitiful remains of my cabin:

This was the marshland on the peninsula, immediately after Ike. Click on the photo -- vehicles were washed hundreds of yards into the marsh and half buried in the sand:

Chris, who no longer lives on the coast, wanted to see the results of Ike's fury for himself, so we drove down. What a surprise we found, though! The beach is in the midst of renewal. The marsh, which Ike buried in salt and sand, is greening. The mountains of debris have been cleared -- kudos to property owners and Galveston County. Some brave folk are rebuilding their cabins. And the Louisiana brown pelicans are back in even greater numbers. Chris and I snapped these pelicans -- squadron upon squadron of them -- as they soared along the beach on their way to Galveston Bay to roost for the evening:

To me, those pelicans -- strong survivors of a horrendous storm -- are a metaphor for my brother. He perseveres despite the ravages of Parkinson's disease, and he does so with strength and humor. And his heart is rebounding from the sorrow of his failed marriage. He will survive his storms, with renewed energy to live his life with dignity. We left Bolivar Peninsula just as the sun was setting on a green marshland:

Renewals -- Have faith that they will occur.


  1. Love your photos. Didnt realize you dealt with Ike. Will you rebuild your cabin? Do you still own the land? We are haveing loads of rain here. The mosquitos will be thick by Monday.

  2. We still own the land but we won't rebuild (we live about 45 miles inland). My husband put his heart and soul into renovating our little cabin -- we just don't have the heart to do it all again. We still have our slab, though, and we will use our RV to camp on our "slab by the sea!"

  3. Wow, great photos. Wonderful abstract compositions.

  4. Thank you both for your comments.

  5. What beautiful words, Suzie. I know the healing is just beginning. Surviving storms is scary and just when you think you can't handle another strong gust of wind, God calms the seas and you can catch your breath. What a true comparison of brutal Ike and the life shattering events in Chris's life. The residents of Galveston and Crystal Beach pulled together, leaned on each other and began rebuilding. Now Chris needs a shoulder and thankfully you and Buddy are there. We are all here for each other..I absolutely know this to be true~ I have such admiration, respect, and love for you are such a special person. I look forward to more of your wonderful photos, give Chris a big hug for me! Jamie~

  6. What beautiful words Suzie. What a comparison of brutal Ike and the storms Chris is going through. Just when you think you can't stand another gail force wind, God calms the seas and we catch our breath. Just like the residents of Crystal Beach and Galveston leaned on each other, he's leaning on you to rebuild his strength. I admire, respect and love you are a special person. Can't wait to see what beautiful photos you and Chris take next!! xxoo~jamie