As I am sure everyone is aware Hurricane Harvey, and more significantly for Mizu no Kokoro, Tropical Storm Harvey, has severely impacted the Houston area (good gosh, what an understatement). As some of you know I work with the NWS forecaster(s) (an inside joke there) at the Spaceflight Meteorology Group at Johnson Space Center, so I’ve been tracking information along with the news coverage, which is heartbreaking. At the Space Center, just down the road from the dojo, there was in excess of 42 inches of rain over this past weekend (some areas may exceed 50 inches, a new record for the US). What I have been able to see from news reports and from a ‘conveniently’ placed traffic cam, I do not have a good feeling for the new space or our equipment. It’s not possible to get to the facility to assess the damage, but from the cars flooded out on the feeder road in front of the business park and the water still visible on the road and in the car dealership next door, it looks like it will be severe. Maybe fortunately I did not remember the presence of the traffic cam until today. I was too busy with more ‘pressing’ concerns. Don’t know that I really would have wanted to see what it looked like at the height of the flood. I have in my experience dealings with cleanups of floods like this before and I can tell you that it isn’t pretty or quick. We will have to assess what the dojo’s direct damage to mats and equipment is and how the business park will be able to respond. I hope to be able to get to the facility later this week, but I won’t know when. As soon as I can, I will post what I find.
Fortunately all of the students and Aikidoka that I have been able to contact are safe and most all have taken only ‘minor’ damage.
The road to recovery for Houston is going to be long and difficult. Please keep everyone (and I mean everyone; water is still rising in areas, there are still rescues going on at this moment and there are an estimated 30,000 displaced into shelters right now from Houston and Harris county, doesn’t even include the ones from Dickinson that have been evacuated to Dallas by military aircraft because they couldn’t go north to Houston shelters) in your thoughts.
For our students, Sato Sensei contacted me yesterday (from an airport no less) to express his concern for you and his wishes for good outcomes and speedy recovery. Thanks Sensei.
Reach out a hand to everyone you can, folks. One of the positive points, maybe the only one but a strong one, has been the outreach from ordinary citizens from all over Texas and from Louisiana and as far away as California, but particularly from Texas. People with boats, and big trucks (Texas…) have been driving for hours to get here and help out the severely overloaded first responders in rescues, delivering supplies to shelters and anything they can do. No one cares who it is that needs the help. No one cares about anything but that there is a need. O’sensei would be proud of us fallible humans right now. This is the essence of Aikido – help others.