On my way to San Lorenzo the traffic was at its usual crawl since it was Rush Hour, after all. Given the Christmas Advent it was more like Rush Afternoon. At any rate, it gave me time to survey the difference between what I have always known versus what I was about to see with my own eyes. The following description will likely feel familiar to those that live in the southeast corner of the United States. People in Florida understand humidity, palm trees, and lush greenery that grows in an instant due to massive amounts of rain and alternating sunshine. This kind of rapid growth proves to be a strength and a weakness in Puerto Rico.
On either side of the Autopista (the main circle highway and also north/south route to Ponce from San Juan) there are sloping areas of green ornamented by palm trees. Those surviving palm trees are like directional markers now. Looking at them, you can tell the path of Maria, in particular, by the way the remaining leaves are facing. Nature leave its mark.
The next thing you notice are the number of uprooted trees that remain on display. They are not in the way of traffic, so, the civic leaders tend to more pressing issues. As long as drivers can navigate unimpeded, triage dictates they can wait.
The trees that make up the majority of what visitors see are denuded to varying degrees. The typical view after the Sisters visit is that of recently-grown green with large toothpicks of stripped bark. I have never seen anything this in this country (yes, “country”… Boricuas always refer to this 100 x 35 mile island as nuestro país regardless of technical parsing of phrases). The only other thing that comes to mind is the affected side of St. Helens after she spoke on behalf of geology in 1980. Whatever image comes to mind, it will stand to signify a devastation likely only happened before recorded meteorological history for that little island.