As a great storm hovers over much of Britain, many people will remember tales of tempests of the past, such as the hurricane which hit the Welsh Valleys in 1913 with 160 miles per hour winds, or the even greater storm of 1703 which caused more damage and loss of life in the south than has ever been recorded in British history. The storm of 1987 was nothing by comparison.
Weather-related natural disasters are familiar to many nations which are resigned to regular cycles of devastating drought or floods, tornadoes, fire or other extremes, but they have been rare, relatively in the UK, which is why an occurrence such as this storm of St Jude has captured the full attention of us all, particularly those of us who live in its path: no-one knows how damaging it will be nor how we each will fare, and we know there is nothing substantial we can do to avoid its impact; it is more powerful than we, and will go where it wishes and do what it wants - it is alive, and it is free.
[caption id="attachment_2157" align="alignright" width="150"] Stormy seas off Anglesey[/caption]
Like many others, I pray for my home, trees and wildlife to be safe, but I do not ask for the storm to change its path and I will not complain if I am affected: why should other places suffer to benefit my comfort and feelings? The storm has purpose and intent, and every home that is damaged or tree that falls does so for a reason, just as anyone who dies through its actions goes Home in the perfect way for them. The loss and chaos of a storm such as this one results in renewed light and healing, new beginnings and renewal, and lessons learned. All great storms remind us of what we forget so quickly, that nature always, always is more powerful than man, and the more we try to control her, the more dynamically will she show us how wrong we are.
So, today, we in Britain make our preparations as best we can, and watch, and wait, in a spirit of acceptance and respect. It is a chance for communities to come together, for neighbour to look out for neighbour, and to remember we are part of a great historical story. This great storm may not match that of 1703 or one hundred years ago in 1913, but it will not be forgotten, by some rather more than others.