Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Sting of Spring

I like spring.  Don't get me wrong.   I like all the usual things that inspire poetry - the singing birds, the blooming flowers, the growing grass, and warmer temperatures.  Spring, however, falls flat as having a shot at being my favorite season because of the severe weather.

Today I wake up to a chance of "severe storms" in the area.   Everyone from the folks at The Weather Channel - whom I am none too fond at the best of times because I don't like the way they hype the weather - to the local forecasters are predicting dire doom and gloom.

While I'm not afraid of severe weather, I have a healthy respect for it and I would prefer not to experience it - because I have, too many times.

Since I live in what some call Tornado Alley, tornadoes and other severe weather events are just a fact of life.  We can and do have tornadoes in every month of the year but spring is prime time around here.

Just a few years ago in May a major tornado ripped through the area passing just a few miles north of me cutting a very large swatch of destruction and death.    Since moving to my current house, we've had a few near misses or that passed too close for comfort.   What is called a "micro burst" destroyed the convenience store on the highway near my neighborhood within the first year of moving into what passes for the suburbs in a small town.

I spent a long night in a Tulsa hotel room a few years ago while multiple tornadoes raged around the city and watched, from the darkness incurred by a power outage, as a funnel cloud dropped from the sky - just past the hotel.   I once took refuge in Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Shreveport when tornado warnings erupted just as I was about to go there anyway.

My biggest experience with tornadoes and the most personal impact happened when I just thirteen.  At the time, my family was new to southwest Missouri and we lived in a mobile home.   On an April night, tornado warnings went out and my mom, because of a premonition she had a few weeks earlier, took the kids and left.  My dad, getting ready to go work the night shift, remained at home.    We took refuge in a laundromat down the road and when we emerged, we could soon see nothing remained of the mobile home park.   We walked back into that rubble, stepping over downed power lines that snapped and hisses like giant cobras, to search for my dad.

My amazing father survived the storm even though the mobile home broke into pieces around him.  He had gone to find us and when he returned, our reunion made the news as television cameras filmed the scene.

That night left me owning the Levi jeans and T-shirt that I wore - little else except what we could pick out of the destruction and mess that remained.

I grew up that night with a vast leap that took me from the last of childhood into a near adult adolescent.

The fall out from that night lingered for years and my mother, to this day, remains terrified when the possibility of tornadoes arises.

I have learned to deal with the possibility, just as I suppose those who lived in Pompeii dwelt in the shadow of the volcano or as Californias (and others along the New Madrid fault) live with the chance for earthquakes.

I don't like the sting that spring delivers but it's just part of life and so I carry on, no matter what the weather.

I am a survivor, tornado and otherwise.,

1 comment:

  1. I think we talked about similarities last time we exchanged comments. Here are some more. My dad was also in a tornado (although it was in Illinois) and his mobile home exploded around him. He had opened the door to look out and the door frame was the only thing remaining. I have been in a couple of tornadoes that took off a wall and a roof but left the walls and such intact. I, too, have a healthy respect for bad weather.


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