Nature Laughs

Every morning I begin my day with a reading from God Calling, a small book with inspirational readings that set the pace for the rest of the day.

Sometimes the message is so on target it scares me.

“Nature laughs. Let her have her way with you,” read the message for today.

As I write this, Tropical Storm Fay is scheduled to make a beeline through the Florida Straits to party with the Conchs on Duval Street sometime in the next 24 hours. Tourists are being evacuated and traffic on the Overseas Highway is starting to build.

This is the time of year when any blip in the Atlantic weather satellite sets the local media into a heightened state of awareness that ranges from the responsible to the ridiculous.

A quick perusal through the local media Web sites this morning let me know that in the next 36 hours we’re either going to be fine or we’re all going to die.

As member of the media, I know the truth is somewhere between the extremes.

As journalists, it’s our responsibility to keep you safe and informed, especially during hurricane season. It’s not just about ratings and headlines. Our goal is to serve you in a professional, responsible manner.

But sometimes we fail.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of having the latest information — and wanting to get it to you as fast as possible — that we end up looking like caricatures of ourselves.

Don’t hold it against us. It’s in our DNA. Breaking news is our Pavlov’s bell.

It’s not just about salivating over an anticipated meal of death, doom and destruction. It’s about having information that could help others — and being blessed with the privilege of sharing that meal with them.

Being the first to deliver that news is just a bonus.

As Managing Editor of a local television Web site, I am blessed with being one of the first to know what’s happening. And I have honor of sharing that information with you.

This isn’t just my job. It’s my mission. But with it comes a great sacrifice.

While you’re preparing to hunker down in your safe room, the journalists and forecasters who gather the information to keep you safe, are preparing to kiss their families goodbye and head to their respective newsrooms to keep you informed, hoping that all the preparations we made will keep our loved one from harm.

It’s a responsibility I accept — just as I accept the calls from family and friends that begin with … “So, tell me, where is the storm really going?”

The truth is, nobody really knows. Forecasting has come a long way since God gave a shout out to Noah and convinced him to build an ark while skeptics laughed.

But if you’ve lived through a hurricane or any natural disaster, you know that Mother Nature will do whatever she wants, regardless of the predictions and forecasts.

If we pretend to know too much, she will laugh.

The best we can do is prepare.

We’re only half way through hurricane season. Are you prepared?

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Filed under Barbara Besteni, hurricanes, tropical storm fay

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