Mother Nature is on a rampage, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.
Last week, an EF-4 tornado ripped through Granbury, Texas. 6 people alone died in Granbury. Many, many more were injured. As many as 10 tornadoes may have touched down in a 24-hour period, one of them reported to be a mile wide. A mile wide. The concept of a tornado being a mile wide blows my mind.
I witnessed a tornado once when I lived in Kansas. I was 8 years old. We lived in a duplex – military housing. My backyard was a huge field maybe the length of 3 football fields. My elementary school stood like a goal post at the other end. I remember my mom shoving me and my brother into a concrete pantry off the kitchen when we first heard the ‘train’. There was a small slit of a window at the very top of the room. Against my mom’s tugging, pulling, anger, I managed to stand on the shelving and watch the little tornado smack into the elementary school, hurl crap in the air like it was nothing, and then turn towards us. I couldn’t move. This finger spun toward our home faster than anything I could even imagine…and then it jumped. Sucked right up in the sky. Touched down somewhere behind us, maybe a mile or more away. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget the color of the sky, the stillness, the eerie feeling on my body. I have since realized what I witnessed as a child was an EF-1. A baby tornado. I can’t imagine seeing something like the tornado that hit Granbury last week or Oklahoma yesterday.
50+ people are dead, 20 of them children from an EF-4 tornado that was estimated to be 2 1/2 miles wide at the base with winds of 200 mph. The death toll will probably rise. I can’t imagine being one of those parents waiting to hear if my child was one of those that lived or perished. As a parent, I can’t even comprehend losing one of my kids. I hope I never have to.
Such young, innocent lives snuffed from this world in the matter of seconds. Not from a madman. Not from a gun or a bomb, but from nature. I’m sure the visible pain, the devastation, cannot even begin to rival the pain those parents are feeling at losing their children. Yesterday morning, parents packed lunch boxes, hugged and kissed their children and sent them off to a place that is thought of safe. Dozens of parents will never see their children again, hear their laughter, see their smiles, have an argument over cleaning a bedroom, or battle with them to eat their peas.
I am reminded in times like these to stop taking my life so seriously. Hug my kids more. Call them on the phone and tell them how much I love them. The chance may never come again, we just never know.
One thing is certain: Mother Nature isn’t going anywhere. It’s that time of year, and she makes no differentiation between age, race, religion, color, rich or poor. We are all equal in her eyes. I live in a state where I have to keep a close eye on her between June 1 and November 31. Anticipation builds closer to hurricane season and Floridians let out a huge sigh of relief when the season ends. For 6 months we pray for these storms to remain nothing more than fish storms. If they do come ashore, we pray they are minimal. It’s humbling to know I’m at Nature’s mercy, and it’s only by the grace of God I’m still here.
My thoughts and prayers to all the victims of the devastating tornadoes of the past 2 weeks and the weeks to come. My heart cries with you in your loss, and if my arms were big enough, I’d embrace all of you. To everyone else, tell those you love how much you care for them. Give them an extra hug, another kiss. Don’t leave any room for regret. Life is too precious, especially when Mother Nature is on a rampage.
- Officials: ‘Multiple fatalities’ in Texas tornado (khou.com)
- Aftermath of tornado in Granbury, Texas (May 16, 2013) (doobybrain.com)
- Shawnee, Oklahoma tornado kills 1 (disaster-report.com)