With the news blaring, and the rain and wind whipping our front trees around, I am gathering ’needs’ into our master bedroom closet. We are 1,400 miles from our closest relatives, our massive German Shepherd is freaking out each time thunder claps outside, and my husband is on a TDY to Texas. I cautiously watch the news as the infamous weather guys with KARK4 warn each town from Southwest and traveling Northeast, “Benton take cover now, West Little Rock take cover now, Jacksonville take cover now”… the lights flicker… then darkness.
“Take shelter now headed for us direct path….”
This was the first time my family had been through any storm like this. In Colorado, I remember watching clouds circle sideways above our cookie cutter neighborhood and I was captured by Mother Nature’s control over the elements… over our homes, but not touching down, not harming anyone… I only came to my senses as I was smacked with a branch on my cheek and we went inside.
My best Arkansas friend, Angie, was frantically advising me what to do. She knew we were without Craig, and she was without her Brian. Typical military, send the men away as disaster strikes. *shakes my head* So now, on April 25, 2011, here we are… huddled in our master bedroom closest, with shoes, clothes, important documents, guns, computers and drives, our pets, and our most precious belongings – our terrified children sobbing, alone in the dark, the only light was my illuminating cell phone as text messages were pouring in – but no calls. Cell towers must have gone down.
“I don’t know if you remember me, you took our pictures, are you okay?”
“I know your husband isn’t home this week, are you okay”
“Please know that our home is open to your family…”
With my battery draining I quickly logged onto Facebook and posted a quick note to my friends and family that we were okay…. then nothing but darkness and sobs, and the horrific sound of wind, rain, and snapping trees.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably more around an hour or so, we shuffled out of the closet, I tucked the kids into our bed, and watched them drift asleep… safe. I however, did not.
The next morning was a blur. Craig wasn’t home yet, though on his way and my phone was charging in my car, in the garage. In order to keep my battery alive I would start the car for about 5 minutes to let it run every now and then. Once I had a charge and the phone was on, several voicemails and texts came pouring in thru Google Voice. (It’s pretty crazy to go back on my Facebook Timeline – which was really easy to get back to by clicking on 2011, then April to read the messages and posts. Go check it out, www.facebook.com/denverphotographer )Trees and limbs covered our street and we piled into the car to go assess our town. Which was in really, bad shape….
One year later, and we are still reminded by the tornado that ripped apart our tiny community. My daughter is terrified of thunder – even thunder sounds like in the grocery store veggie section… terrified. Homes were rebuilt, trees were removed. But traces of the storm are still apparent. There is metal stuck in some very tall trees out side of town, there is a forest of torn apart earth and vegetation that was once plentiful and green. There were deaths. And about 8 homes and structures were burnt to the ground on main street.
However… over time, the visual damage fades and Mother Earth claims her position again as “All Is Well” and creates awe and inspiring beauty that you can’t help but stop and wonder (or wander in this case) into. A home was burnt on main street in a sweet setting under tall, old, shading trees. The property was set several feet into the earth, and just driving by in a hurry you wouldn’t see the massive pallet of purple, fuschia, and white wild petunia-like flowers against a cobblestone barrier where the house once stood.
Without the storm, this beauty would not exist. I’m not down playing the horrendous repricutions that people had to endure at the hand of Mother Natures anger – it was absolutely horrible. It’s a life lesson to swallow what hurts and step forward towards better; take time to appreciate the simplicities that you have and the beauty of our world admist the destruction.
Inhale deeply, filling your soul with simple happiness and gratitude.
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