I grew up at the edge of tornado country. In rural Southern Indiana most springs small tornados touched down somewhere within easy driving distance so that I remember Sunday drives to see areas of damage, in most cases downed threes and a few roofs without their shingles. My impression was that tornadoes were a kind of natural entertainment. In something of that attitude I have been following the posts of a tornado watcher -- see my side bar -- and feeling amazed at the odd beauty of cloud formations and funnels those rather foolish hobbyists photograph.
The last few weeks, and especially the last couple of days, I've realized that tornadoes are definitely anything but entertainment. The devastation in various towns and cities, and now in Joplin, Missouri is truly terrifying. The terror at both the destructive power and the unpredictability, the suddenness of these occurrences. Most of the time we go about our lives grumbling at the inconvenience of a rainy day when we wanted to be outside or the discomfort of winter cold and snow removal. We expect our homes which are often expensive and much loved by us, to shelter us from the majority of physical discomforts nature can bring. When a home -- even a six story hospital -- can be destroyed in a matter of minutes we have to wake up and consider that nature cannot be shut out easily. Being forced out of our complacency is a difficult and uncomfortable thing but sometimes broadening our point of view is a balance we need in order to think about what is truly important and about ourselves as small beings in a great web of nature which can be both wonderfully benign and delightful or suddenly terrifying and able to overpower all of our constructions.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!