The Coming Times
Florida Sinks

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Copyright  2005  Theresa Law
All Rights Reserved
    And I am in Florida, USA.  My home

    I see that water is seeping up through the lawns of suburban Florida
    No need to water the lawn!
    The water seeps up from underground

    Florida is gradually sinking.  Inch by inch she is sinking into the Atlantic Ocean

    And what do the people do, dear?

    They are in complete denial
    Confident that they can work around and over and through any problem presented
    to them
    Architects and engineers are called upon
    Water is drained into ever more retention ponds
    And there are more and more of these retention ponds all across suburban Florida
    Soil is hauled in
    And people pour layer upon layer of soil upon their lawn
    And then replant the lawns on top of this new soil
    And the newer houses built incorporate all sorts of features to protect from flooding
    The architects are able to come up with many suggestions and features
    And the builders listen to them
    And continue building new homes across Florida
    And the people continue moving to Florida to live

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean

    And the Florida Chamber of Commerce is concerned
    For the tourist industry on which Florida is so dependant is being hurt
    For the beaches are being swallowed up
    The ocean now reaches right up to the hotels’ doors
    There is no beach
    And engineers and other specialists are called in
    And the government follows their suggestion and dredge up sand
    And ‘create’ beaches so that the tourists and their money continue to flow into
    And this seems to work; all of the techniques and strategies
    That are implemented are helping
    They are helping
    And so the builders continue building
    New homes in new suburban subdivisions
    New hotels along the beaches
    And new residents continue moving to Florida
    And the tourists with their money continue pouring into Florida
    And yes the government and the business professionals are proud of themselves
    Yes, they can approach these problems
    And yes they can find solutions
    And yes, we can continue building and continue growing
    And continue to make money
    Yes we can

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes sweep across Florida

    And Florida braces itself for them
    And then courageously rebuilds and repairs the damage wrought
    We can handle this; yes we can
    And there is a sense of camaraderie among the people

    Yes, we are in this together
    And yes, we’ve survived hurricanes before
    And we’ll survive hurricanes again

    And it’s funny how the hurricanes continue hitting the same area
    The Florida Panhandle for example seems to be a favorite target
    One Panhandle resident; after having survived 3 hurricanes
    Is quoted in the news as saying, “It’s hard not to take it personally”
    And yes, the residents who keep getting hit are now getting weary
    And the staunch determination that they had initially shown begins to falter
    Perhaps we should move
    And a few people do, but most stay
    They are in denial

    We’re tough, they say
    Besides every place has its problems, they say
    This is my home and I’m never leaving it, they say

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida

    The hurricanes come and the hurricanes go
    And the people now have the drill down pat

    Yes you get your gas tank filled
    Yes you get plenty of bottled water
    Yes you get plenty of cash on hand
    For the Automated Teller Machines won’t work
    And the stores will not be able to accept your credit card
    And you will not be able to buy what you need
    So yes do have plenty of cash on hand

    And the people know the drill
    They are quite proud actually of their expertise
    Their growing expertise at facing and coping with these hurricanes
    For with each new hurricane; the residents learn something new

    Yes we buy plywood and board up our windows
    And now we already have the plywood in our garages
    And with the next hurricane
    We’ll have all the plywood and the tools already on hand
    We know how to do it now
    Yes we are learning

    But the people grow weary of days and weeks without electricity
    And without running water
    Can you imagine!  We had to go three weeks without running water!
    And those who can afford it buy backup generators
    So they don’t have to endure such inconveniences

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida

    And now the ocean water is past the hotels’ front doors
    And has moved into the hotels’ lobbies
    And the hotel managers grow increasingly distressed
    No the tourists will not put up with this. No they will not
    And now the water creeps up from underneath the ground
    Up through the lawns across suburban Florida
    The water creeps up inch by inch
    Despite all the retention ponds that have been built
    Despite having added all these layers of soil
    And planting their lawns on top of them
    The water creeps up inch by inch from underneath the ground
    The ocean water sweeps in feet by feet ever closer towards the towns
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida
    And this occurs over the span of decades
    And the people adjust; the people adjust
    The government adjusts
    The Chambers of Commerce do what they can

    But it is becoming increasingly wearisome
    It seems that more and more and more is required each year
    To maintain a normal life
    And more and more and more is required each year
    To maintain beachfront property
    And it seems that more and more and more damage is incurred each year
    By the relentless and ever increasing number of hurricanes

    Why they are now an accepted fact of life.  It has become the norm
    The communities know what to do
    The people know where the shelters are
    And know what to bring with them to the shelters
    And yes the spirit of camaraderie continues

    We’re in this together, they say
    Hang tough, they say
    Things will turn around, they say, they always do

    But they don’t
    They don’t
    They don’t

    The hurricanes return year after year after year
    A few more each year
    A bit more severe each year
    And the water continues to creep up
    And the houses continue to flood

    And now unsanitary health conditions are introduced
    And the architects and other professionals are called in
    And yes they are listened to
    And the communities and the people learn what to do
    And what not to do
    Regarding all this standing water about them
    And the years go by
    And the decades go by
    And the decades go by

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida

    And the people forget that it had not always been this way
    That their lives had not always been consumed by their focus on the weather
    That in fact that climate had been what had drawn the mass exodus to Florida in the
    first place

    And the people grow weary
    And they think of moving out
    Moving out of state

    But where would they move to?
    Every place has its own set of problems
    Besides who would buy their house?
    Why the family’s wealth is tied up into their real estate
    They cannot afford to sell at a loss
    No they cannot
    They’ll have to wait till things turn around again
    And consider selling then

    But things do not turn around
    No they do not
    On the contrary
    Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida

    And the state is feeling besieged
    And yes the tourist industry has been hurt
    Despite the chambers of commerce best efforts
    For the media displays footage of the hurricanes
    And their devastating effects for the whole world to see
    And yes, in some areas defeat has to be admitted
    No, we can no longer maintain this beachfront.  It is just not possible
    The ocean has crept in too close and too high
    There is no longer any beach
    And without the beach, there are no tourists
    And without the tourists there is no money
    And the shopkeepers have no choice
    They have no customers
    They are forced to close down their shops
    They have no choice
    And towns that had been dedicated to the tourist industry
    It seems overnight are vacated
    The hotels emptied and abandoned
    The shops emptied and abandoned
    The people who had worked in the hotels and in the shops
    Must move elsewhere to seek employment
    Must start their lives again elsewhere
    And the houses themselves are left emptied and abandoned
    And now, year by year, decade by decade
    Tourist town after tourist town
    Is transformed into ghost town after ghost town
    The people gone
    The structures remain standing
    Flooded but standing
    Vacant and abandoned

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida

    And the people grow ever more weary
    And now they no longer have a choice
    Why they are forced to evacuate!
    Another hurricane comes
    And the government forces the residents to evacuate
    It is a mandatory evacuation
    And at first the order to remain away from the area is temporary
    Until we have the downed power lines rebuilt
    Until the waters have receded
    Until it is safe again

    And at first; after a while, it is safe again
    And the residents are able to return to their homes
    To their devastated homes
    Those that are still standing are flooded with water and with mud
    It is disgusting
    And as the years go by
    It takes longer for the government to allow the residents to return home
    Until finally some towns are declared officially unsafe to live in
    The government cordons off the town
    The water is 2 feet deep
    There are too many downed power lines
    The conditions are unsanitary
    And they show no signs of improving

    We cannot rebuild this town
    We’re sorry but you will have to move
    You will have to find a new home elsewhere
    You will have to start your life again elsewhere

    And as the years go by and as the decades go by
    More and more of these residential towns are officially declared uninhabitable
    And it is actually against the law to try to return to them
    For it is unsafe; it is unsafe; it is unsafe
    And these residential towns are residential towns no longer
    But ghost towns
    Vacant and abandoned

    And Florida continues to sink inch by inch by inch into the Atlantic Ocean
    And the hurricanes continue to batter Florida

    And the coastline of Florida changes
    Each year, the cartographers redraw the map of Florida
    The satellite pictures give them the information they need
    And yes, it is quite evident
    Florida is shrinking
    Both the eastern and western coastlines have moved inwards
    Florida is more narrow
    The southern tip of Florida has gone under water
    Florida is shorter

    And there is a sadness
    There is a grieving
    Yes, there is a sense of loss
    And as the mass exodus into Florida had occurred
    Oh how many decade ago was it
    So now does the mass exodus out of Florida begins
    For it is too sad now
    It is sad in Florida
    And now each new hurricane is not greeted
    With courage and optimism and a can-do attitude by the people
    No, not at all
    Now each new hurricane is greeted
    With a sense of defeat, of hopelessness, and yes fatigue
    And slowly but surely the people move out of Florida
    First it was the people who were forced to move out
    Due to the loss of jobs by the loss of the tourist industry
    Then it was the people who were forced to move out
    Due to their towns having become and being officially declared uninhabitable
    And now people voluntarily leave Florida
    Of their own free will and initiative they leave
    For they are tired
    Truly they do not have the stomach to face another hurricane season
    Truly they are weary of the constant flooding
    The intermittent but ever increasing power outages
    But most of all, it is the loss of their neighbors
    That drives them away
    For the sight of the ghost towns all around them
    Is just too depressing
    It depresses the people
    And they are defeated
    And in defeat they leave
    They simply abandon their homes
    No, no one will buy them
    The family’s wealth is abandoned
    And they move to where they can move to

    Yes there is a brother here
    A cousin there
    They’ll help us get back on our feet

    And the mass exodus out of Florida continues
    And Florida continues growing ever smaller
    As the satellite pictures which are displayed on the media
    So graphically and so irrefutably display

    And no Florida does not completely disappear
    There is a small segment of the population who remain
    On the land left that is still habitable

    And this is now what Florida has become

    A small state
    A rural state
    A quiet state

    And now that Nature’s mission has been accomplished
    The hurricanes gradually, ever so gradually, diminish
    And if Florida continues sinking, it is no longer as noticeable as it had been
    The rate of sinking decreases

    Nature has accomplished her mission
    She has reclaimed Florida
    She is satisfied
    And slowly but surely leaves the new, smaller, rural, and quiet Florida in peace