Editor, The Beacon:

Hurricane recovery. It’s a tough job. I offer two suggestions, for government action and for individual initiative to support recovery efforts.

After Ian’s destructions, the yard waste is huge. But some of this waste can be useful. Rather than dump all this woody material into landfills or burn piles, it could be chipped for use in yards.

Volusia County has done this with spent Christmas trees, making “merry mulch” in many a new year. How about some Hurricane Hash? Call it the remnants of local trees on local lawns.

The government could even charge a modest amount for the mulch and put the resulting revenues toward support of local landscapes. All this would make for good use of resources and good publicity, to boot.

The second suggestion is a plug to encourage the lucky among us to help those hit hardest by the storms. I call it “The Puffs of Growing Windstorms,” with thanks to the group Peter, Paul and Mary, singing “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

The Puffs of Growing Windstorms

The puffs of growing windstorms lived without pedigree,

Then gained their strength in warmer temps of mid-Atlantic seas.

First there was Fiona, she stormed Carib with might,

She crossed PR, hit northern isles, turned off all their lights.

Up from south came Ian, slammed first to Cuba’s isle,

Tobacco soaked, towns in flood, and trees all left in piles.

Northward marched Sir Ian, with Florid in his sights,

With wide cone to projections, he put them all in frights.

At southwest coast a heavy hit, where winds topped 150,

Then cruised on I-4’s pathway, a vile tourist on a spree.

Through towns of Orange, Lak, and Volusee, he went with wind and wet,

Roots up high, worlds upside down, branches to ground met.

If you happened to be lucky, from storms their fury spent,

Next time out, skies might decide, your path is what they meant.

Like premium insurance, just pay a bit each year,

To cover folks, like you, who paid this time so dear.

So if you have some coppers, some silver, or a card,

Consider sharing from your luck to those … who … had … it … hard.

A few good organizations working on hurricane relief and more humanitarian aid include Americares, Mercy Corps and the Red Cross.

No one of us can change the world, but we can all do our part.

Paul Croce


— Croce is a professor of history and American studies at Stetson University, creator of the Public Classroom, and a writer for The Huffington Post.


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