This country’s weather seems to be as ravaged as its politics. While the west coast blisters under blazing heat and wildfires and Texans are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma is ripping up the west coast of Florida as I sit and write. It’ll leave who-knows-what in its unprecedented wake. I have to say that Gov. Rick Scott appears to have done an outstanding job in preparing the state’s population for the worst storm in decades, maybe in a century. While he’s been in constant communication with the residents, tourists and visitors, the frailties of an infrastructure to handle mass evacuations become clearer as disaster approaches. Friends of mine recently moved to The Villages, the huge retirement community just northwest of Orlando, where the prospect of evacuation was not the easiest thing to entertain. Interstate 75 was a parking lot and they couldn’t get any gas to hightail it out of there anyway. People who invested in generators were disallowed from filling gas canisters to run them. So they’ve decided to hunker down and ride it out. While the house is built of steel and breezeblock, the roof and windows still present an obvious weakness. Here in Tennessee, it’s a typical, an early fall morning with crisp, blue skies and nary a breeze to stir a leaf and hummingbirds whizzing back and forth before their epic retreat, makes it even more difficult to appreciate the hardships of the aftermath that folks are dealing with in and around Houston and those that Floridians will face on a disastrous level. Caribbean Islanders have been left with nothing but the clothes they stand in, a life’s efforts and belongings stripped clean overnight as Texans throw away anything that’s been touched by the putrid floodwaters. Even if you’re lucky enough to have insurance, replacement doesn’t contemplate memories and personal attachments. A record-sized earthquake in Southern Mexico, where over a hundred lives were lost and thousands injured, which would normally have been headline news worldwide, has been relegated to the newspapers’ back pages and an afterthought in other media. I know nothing compares to lives lost but now the financial burdens will have to be met; as the government digs deep to find the billions of dollars needed to fund reparations, folks will be finding out what the small print really means in their insurance policies. My buddy, who does not live in a flood zone, pointed out that his policy doesn’t cover “water damage.” So if Irma rips his roof off and ruins his belongings, he gets a new roof! His trip to the furniture store will be self-funded. Americans’ generosity is as broad as its willingness to pull up its bootstraps and get things back to normal, hard work and charity going hand in hand. Yet still, there will be the looters, price-gougers and scammers preying on those, only too ready to be taken in by desperation. By the time this is printed, the macho TV weather reporters will have returned to the comfort of their offices, though why they feel the need to stand in the middle of a tempest as winds howl around anoraks and microphones and rain splatters camera lenses, is beyond me – verisimilitude in reporting, I suppose. Mother Nature has shown, once again, who’s really in charge while Donald Trump, like King Canute, defies global warming.