Hurricane Season

by Hannah Modigh

Despite a hard surface, stones are shaped by water and people by their heritage. Someone described himself to me as “a natural-born racist”. As if it was not a choice. Linked to the emotional center of the brain, one can learn to be afraid of things. I see it, on TV. I think of the cypress tree: tough, with its roots down deep and its knees above water. The bald cypress became Louisiana’s state tree in 1963. A year later, a new law banned discrimination on grounds of skin colour. “Today they say that we are free, only to be chained in poverty” – Bob Marley in his song Slave Driver. A vicious circle, harder to escape than a hurricane. Hurricane Season is not about hurricanes. It is about my self, and about you. A mental state, a sense of being between disasters. Something scary happened, and it will likely happen again. It’s quiet now, but beneath the surface lurks uncertainty, fear and anger. During my time in Louisiana I realised that fears of hurricanes and the undertone of aggression by large parts of society come from the same source. Fear and anxiety are natural reactions to feelings of threat, but they are passivity and unproductive. In a context where the weakness is undesirable, even dangerous, there is a gain in transforming fear into action and anger. In a macho landscape it is more acceptable to be angry than scared.