“I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers”
Blanche DuBois – from the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire”
It might seem strange to be quoting Blanche DuBois in the aftermath of a hurricane, but her words seem to fit the scenario that so many people across the Caribbean and the whole state of Florida are now feeling. When your reality is blown away in a matter of hours, the kindness of strangers becomes a lifeline. Now in the 43rd hurricane season since I wrote the lyrics to “Tryin’ To Reason With Hurricane Season”, here we are again.
Singing For Change (SFC), our Foundation, was created 20 years ago, as a way to give back to communities where we play our live shows. But when bigger problems than what we are used to handling appear, we have to adapt. Through experience with Katrina and the Haitian earthquake, we’ve learned that the effects of disasters are still evident long after the TV crews have packed up and left, but we will still be there quietly making noise.
We live and work in the tropics and understand you have to have a plan of action when trouble appears on the horizon. As Irma plowed North, our team handled the needs of our staff and guests affected by the hurricane, and will continue to do so, as work begins to rebuild.
It takes a long time to recover from a hurricane. Some things do come back, some things don’t. Only last week, as I flew into New Orleans while Irma was ravaging St. Barth, I looked down at the land surrounding the airport, which was underwater when I flew there right after the storm, is today back to being a bustling community.
Hurricanes are forces of nature. Their arrivals are frightening and their departures leave chaos and turmoil, and the kindness of strangers can be the salve that helps with the healing. We have been there in the past, and will continue to do so.
Though I can’t physically be at the Harvey Benefit in Austin this month, I will do what I can from afar. When the waters in Florida recede and it is safe to do so, we will organize a benefit there as well. Stay tuned. In the meantime, just breathe in, breathe out and move on.