Friday, September 16, 2005


I love the Bay area just south of San Francisco. I love the people, I love the weather, and I love the spirit of new ideas. This has been a wonderful place to begin to renew my spirit and discover who I am when I am no longer defining myself primarily as a wife and mother, the way I did for so long. Now, though, it's time for a change.

When I took my cross country trip, I spent a week or so in Austin, Texas and I liked it. I wasn't ready to stay there then, but I liked it. So when I flew to Texas last week to see if I still liked it as much, I was optimistic about maybe moving there. I got more than I bargained for.

I arrived just as evacuees of Hurricane Katrina were arriving. Every where I went, every person in Austin, it seemed, was doing something to help. There was a sense of quiet determination to simply do whatever needed to be done. There was an understanding that this could be a long term thing. They were still going to do whatever needed to be done.

I know that's not unique. People all over this country are helping. And yet, at the same time, it was a powerfully moving experience to watch an entire city in action like this. Once more, it affirmed for me that these were people I wanted to know.

When a disaster like Katrina occurs, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. It's scary to think our lives can be turned upside down and we might be powerless to stop it from happening. It is precisely at times like this that we need to be reminded of the power that each of us has within ourselves to make a difference, even in the midst of disaster. It is profoundly important to see that when we work together, as all the people of Austin were, our individual power doesn't simply get added together, but rather it is multiplied.

As I said, I know Austin isn't unique. And that's a good thing. I'd like to believe that people every where in this country would respond with the same willingness to do whatever is needed. It's just that this is the experience I was surrounded by. And it made my decision to move to Austin even easier.