In September 2015, I returned to Huntersville, North Carolina. After my mother died, I was on a mission and a personal journey. I needed to set foot on this land, seventeen miles north of Charlotte. It was once the road to my maternal grandparents’ farm. I needed to go there to make sense of my southern roots, finish my first book, From Fertile Ground, and–in a sense–bring Mom back with me to the state she left behind in 1945. I will always be grateful for the experience.
How quickly conditions can change. Three years ago, I wrote about the parched land I saw and spoke with family members about the horrible drought in the area. Now, as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the eastern seaboard, forecasters are predicting a vastly different fate for North Carolina. Warnings have been issued for a destructive storm surge late Thursday or Friday along the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts, followed by days of heavy rain inland for western North Carolina. Towns like Huntersville.
Whatever transpires, I’m holding my breath. I hope all residents in harm’s way evacuate the region safely and get the FEMA assistance they need quickly if the storm delivers its expected punch and devastation.