ENCHANTÉ – Matthew and his Mother Nature

palms at hurricane

Mother Nature at work again. This time, it’s son Matthew. Ever wondered why it is Mother Nature? Why not Father Nature? The question has been raised ample times with as many answers and explanations. I believe it’s because mothers are fickle. You never know what these storms’ plans are.  Fathers are stern, may be rude sometimes, but usually you know what’s coming. In French, fickle means “inconstant”; fickleness is “inconstance,” which is feminine; another indication why it is Mother Nature. You never know what’s she is doing; one day nice, the next day all hell breaks loose. The French synonym of “inconstance” is “infidélité.” Interesting, to bring up infidelity in this context. 

It’s amazing how TV gets inebriated with these storms. Gals and guys out there in wind and rain, weathering the weather. You rarely see the poor cameraman trying to keep the rain away from his focus. Katrina, Sandy, Wilma,  it’s always the same pictures. And then the politicians join in ad nauseum with their global warming or climate change sound bites.

Well, everyone knows that there have always been huge hurricanes throughout the ages. It doesn’t have much to do with climate change. You’re wrong, the climate changers will tell you: they’re more frequent and bigger now because of climate change. You never win an argument with these guys.

I remember as the day of yesterday when northern Europe was hit by one of it fiercest North Sea storms (we don’t have hurricanes there but the storms can be as bad) on a weekend in February 1953.

watersnoodramp-1953  zeeland-1953-flood

I was 16 and at boarding school in the center of Holland. We woke up with the bell ringing in the dorm – always far too early – and heard the wind howling. The sky was dark and thick black clouds were rushing low over the buildings. In those days there was no TV. Only days after we heard that some 2000 people had died in the southwestern Dutch islands of Zeeland and some 500 more in Belgium, England, and Scotland. The damage was enormous. Whole villages were wiped off the earth and thousands of cattle died. Later in the week we saw pictures of our Queen Juliana wading through the blubber  in rubber boots, viewing the destruction. It led to the huge project of the Delta Works, which took many years to complete. But then nobody ever talked about “climate change.” (Now they do!) Because climate changes all the time and this was just another example of Mother Nature’s force and fickleness. 


Delta Works in the Netherlands.

But precisely because climate changes all the time, there is little room for complacency. There have been warmer and colder periods affecting “Mother” Earth, regardless of CO2. And why do these two Mothers not sit together and iron out their differences, like in a PTA meeting?

During Katrina and other New Orleans floods the Dutch were often consulted on how to deal with the storm surges coming in from the Gulf of Mexico or threatening Manhattan. Plans were made but I understand not executed to the level it was needed because of lack of substantial funds. Until we get another flood and the then president is accused of bad management. And so it goes, kicking the ball down the road. Let’s hope Matthew does not wreck the US playground and beach resorts along its East Coast.


Betsy, which flooded New Orleans in 1965, led to the  Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project – Public Law 89-298. It would protect the region against a storm that would only occur once every 200 years, but by the time Katrina roared over the region, the standards proved hugely outdated: more than 50 levies broke and 1,500 people died. According to Dutch sources, the US approach is directed more at disaster relief management than at disaster avoidance.

One advantage of Matthew is that we are not “flooded” with the continual flow of political analysis about who “won” the debate,  where Hillary is “hiding” to prepare for the debate (to learn how to deflect attacks on her lies with more lies), and about why The Donald does more campaigning to avoid preparing and missing out on opportunities to beat the hell out of Hillary. By Sunday, October 9, Matthew has hopefully left the East coast to spook further up north on the Atlantic. And Monday, we’ll be back to the unrelenting TV politics about who won, should have won, who lost but still won, who won but still lost, without getting one step closer to solving the wrongs of the US.  Until the perfect storm on November 8. And then what.



Enchanting The Swan: love story where playing music leads to a kiss and what awful things happen thenhttp://amzn.to/1LPFw5o

Some Women I have Known: where Piano John confuses playing sheet music with playing between the sheets... http://amzn.to/1QIL94B



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