This editorial was first published in The Dallas Morning News. Guest editorials don’t necessarily reflect the Denton Record-Chronicle’s opinions.
Amid the chaos and clutter, what can be heard across Dallas is the roar of chainsaws as people across the city cut and clear and clean their way out of what Mother Nature has left behind.
Amid this mess of felled trees and crushed cars and, tragically, the loss of life, what we also see are neighbors gathering together, volunteering to help each other drag branches to the curb or pry open garage doors or check on the people who perhaps have no one to check on them.
We see emergency crews — those who work to maintain our power lines and smaller, mom-and-pop shops of plumbers, tree trimmers and electricians — turning out in force in the heat and humidity to secure the streets and to get the power flowing again.
If there is a lesson in this, it may be one that is a little more hopeful than we might have feared before the storm system swept through. Yes, we are often a country at loggerheads with itself, but we are also a community, one that stands together when it matters.
This storm won’t resolve long-standing policy debates. And we don’t subscribe to the economic theory that suggests all the shattered glass, broken trees and downed power lines will be a net gain for the city.
Even as the storm will spur some economic activity, the gains result from real and even traumatic loss. But what we do believe about this storm is that it reaffirms what we know about our neighbors: that there is a basic goodness that resides in the people of North Texas.
Yes, there were tragic results from the storm. Yet there are also neighbors talking to each other over fallen fences, lending a hand and a heart for the destroyed heritage trees and rallying their neighborhoods.
There is a sense of common purpose, at least for a day, across our community as we step out and gaze upon ancient oaks that finally gave way and young trees that won’t now record decades of history after being uprooted by high winds.
We need to hold on to that warmth in the coming days, as our patience wears with repairs to power lines and street lights. Let’s go a little slower and be a little kinder throughout the week.
In the meantime, go out and take pictures of those broken tree limbs, marvel at the close calls as trees now rest inches from the corner of the house or the bumper of a car. And commiserate with neighbors who sustained direct hits. As we do these things we build shared experiences with others who persevere through the sudden extremes in weather that mark our community.
We will begin again, and we are beginning again now.