The Sudden Changing Moods of Mother Nature by Todd Rutherford

Douglas M. Hoy’s Paradise: What Could Go Wrong? uses two different stories of idyllic days in which Mother Nature has other plans, demonstrating her true power and ability to change suddenly without warning. In a time when our headlines are bombarded with both strange changes in weather and tragic natural disasters, Hoy’s work is a relevant and an important reminder that we have no power to control nature.

In “Beers, Beach, and Buddies,” a pleasant boating trip that epitomizes the Floridian dream-life, with endless days in the sun and on the water, turns disastrous in an instant, as a deadly rip tide threatens Hoy’s life. Although he remains calm and is able to save himself and swim to shore, a less experienced swimmer or less levelheaded person would have been doomed by the power of nature.

In “Pole Dancing,” Hoy describes another instance in which Mother Nature intervened to threaten his safety on a similarly unassuming day one year later. While on a “pleasure cruise,” storm clouds begin to build, quickly changing the tone of their boating trip; “Storm clouds can and do build up out of nothing and will reach down and get you if you are not paying attention.”

He recounts an instance ten years prior in which “in a virtual flash, ten people lost their lives” when they, under ostensibly sunny skies, were killed by a bolt of lightning from a storm cloud over five miles away. Through Hoy’s story and his memory of a tragic incident, he reminds us that with Mother Nature’s capability of extreme change, surprise, and true power, “You just have to pay attention and then sometimes that is not enough.”

Hoy’s stories relating the fickle nature of weather and ability to turn the peaceful into the hostile is particularly relevant after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan and the devastating aftermath that pervaded the headlines. Although Paradise: What Could Go Wrong? details much more subtle events, Mother Nature remains an all-powerful force, capable of rapidly changing-bringing us catastrophe and threatening our lives.

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