There’s something to be said for being here, in the middle of the Atlantic at this time of year, surrounded by tropical cyclones.

It reminds us that we are never completely in charge — that we are sometimes at the mercy of things we cannot possibly control.

Everybody needs a dose of humility from time to time — not just the politicians and other muckety-mucks who think they know it all and call the shots, but the rest of us too.

We think we can drive where want to, do what we want to do, pick up a phone and make things happen, press a button and turn something on.

But sometimes we can’t.

We are so used to building and buying that we forget the natural cycle that balances creation and growth and success with death and decay and frustration.

It’s good to be reminded too, that we all depend on each other, especially when we have problems, and that the only way we steer our way out of problems is working selflessly and together.

I hope our three candidates for Premier are thinking about this kind of stuff, at least just a little, because they are taking charge at a time when — even if we don’t suffer any damage from a hurricane — we are buffeted by powerful forces beyond our control.

Tourism slumps, global economic downturns, oil spills, global warming, government crackdowns on “tax havens”… all these are things that Bermuda can do little to control.

They are churning the waters around us like so many Colins, Danielles, Earls and Fionas.

Bermuda is tiny and it doesn’t take a big lightning bolt to cause national damage.

A downturn in tourism or international insurance affects all of us, pretty directly.

In a larger country, the effects of an industry failure would be much more diluted.

A hurricane that hits Bermuda hits all of us. One power plant goes down and we’re sitting in the dark. One airport gets washed away and we’re on our own.

A major hurricane strike in the U.S. makes the headlines but it only hits one tiny part of the country. Even the famous Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped out New Orleans, but New Orleans is only the 34th largest city in the country.

Our insurance companies always nag us to “be prepared” for the hurricanes that one day —maybe this week, maybe next week, maybe next year, but sometime — are going to hit us.

A small and isolated place like Bermuda needs to “be prepared”.

Sometimes we need to be a little more conservative than we want to be — to build our windows a little smaller, trim our trees a little closer and squirrel more money away.

When devastation comes, it will be visited on the country, not on a regional industry or on our 34th largest city.

We need to be well insured, literally and metaphorically.

That is why the two men challenging Finance Minister Paula Cox for the premiership of Bermuda are right to pay so much attention to our rapid build-up of national debt.

And that is why apologists for our government are wrong to dismiss Bermuda’s fast-accumulating debt as nothing more dramatic than that of a lot respectable western countries.

Unlike large industrialized countries, we are always on the edge no matter how successful we are. We are always just one economic crisis, one tropical cyclone, away from a potentially crippling national disaster.

We cannot risk being deeply in debt even before it happens.

The cheerful flip side of this, of course, is that it just takes one booming industry to make the whole country prosperous.

When international business thrives, the wealth spreads throughout the island. When the sun shines, it shines on every tourist in the whole country. When a hurricane veers away and misses Bermuda, it misses all of us.

That, in the end, is our great consolation and our strength.

When politicians tell us we are “all in this together,” you know it’s just a mindless political platitude.

But when you’re stuck on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic at the start of a hyperactive hurricane season, you know it’s true.