By Maude Wolfe
I live in a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In 2005, this littoral place, with its ever-shifting boundaries on the edge of land and sea, was almost swept away by Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, I shuddered with the recognition that my life as I knew it was gone. The same was true for my circle of friends; there was no one whose life had not been dramatically changed by Katrina. Amidst sudden and thoroughgoing uncertainty, I contemplated isolation and community, vibrancy and desolation.
Oddly enough, in the immediate aftermath of the storm, I felt a momentary surge of what felt like freedom. I felt privileged in a particular way. It seemed like a tremendous opportunity to practice, to put my beliefs to the test. However, this feeling soon wavered under the weight of the tasks and decisions at hand. Separated from my home, workplace, and community, what endured most apparently of the identity “Maude” were daughter, wife, and sister, and in a matter of weeks, the needs, real and imagined, and desires of these essential roles became a tangled knot.