Time heals. One year after Mother Nature broke all the laws of meteorology and climatology, unleashing her might on our Gulf Coast, we have healed. That doesn’t mean there are no scars. It simply means that life goes on. As has been said, “in our worst we see the best.”
The Gulf Coast has seen many storms. But in August of 2017, when Hurricane Harvey did the unthinkable bouncing dance along the coast, then settled over our city of two million-plus, it broke the mold. Our city was drowned, but our heart and soul never flooded. Humanity came to the rescue. People became neighbors. Strangers became friends. And while our homes were soaked, our spirit was never touched by the water.
Our children became our saviors. It was through their innocence and unbridled spirits that we saw ourselves, our creations recreating us. The storm continued for four days, and our kids—-cooped up indoors—-watched with lengthening faces. Then, during a break, we chose to do the unthinkable. We sent those sad-faced kids outside.
What we learned was unimaginable. Kids cannot be broken by the same things that break us.
They ran, danced and screamed in joy at the small gift of freedom the break in the storm gave them. The energy from their little hearts and souls fought back any ounce of negativity that the storm produced. They were in control and it almost felt like their joy fought the storm off and made it disappear into nothing.
Last year, you may have seen my image of children running with the American flag. (See top of this page.) I believe the image went viral because I’d captured an image of resilience, strength, happiness and innocence. Our kids taught us that the storms of life come and go. But most importantly, they go. The sun comes out, the flowers bloom and the water recedes.
Life should be a non-stop educational experience and if we learned anything from Hurricane Harvey it was that no matter what nature throws at us, we can continue on. The children of the Gulf Coast will experience more storms in their life. Thankfully, this storm taught them that when the storms of life come, you push out your chest, face it head on and move towards it, never allowing those storms of life to take their spirit. I pray that my image injected the energy of healing and strength into our community. Houston had a problem. Our kids solved it.
Clarice Brito Salcido is a Houston-area high school teacher and a part-time family and children’s photographer. In 2017, her image of children and their resilience to Hurricane Harvey, went viral. All photos copyright Cici Loo Photography.