One of my most popular blogs is Driving Into the Storm where I talk about driving into a tornado warned county and watching the storm brew and build. And of course parallel it to life. We are currently waiting for the first real round of spring storms to hit my hometown right now. This system has been predicted to be worse than the 2009 outbreak of tornadoes. They’ve already started hitting in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Joplin. The current line is two counties away where the ‘dry line’ (a term meteorologist like to throw around) is. I’m fairly confident they won’t make it here but as always there are no guarantees. We didn’t get all that warm today and right now it’s pretty chilly here. Always a bonus as these storms need that warm air to come to full intensity. All my neighbors know to come to my place. I’m ground level with concrete walls and a massive bathroom. And I like them, call me crazy.
We’ve been hearing about these storms for days on end. People have posted the outlooks on Facebook and the weather guys have reminded us at every news cast. And just like everyone else, I’ve tried to ensure I’m prepared for every contingency. Bathroom clean…check. I mean there could possibly be people in there and I don’t need them judging my bathroom floor. Wine and milk…check. OK, perhaps frivolous but still I have it. I have food, the neighbors have several grills. IF disaster strikes we could potentially eat. I even changed my typically parking spot based on coverage and potential blocking of debris type issues. I think I’m prepared. I hope?
You can prepare for every congencincy that you can think of. But there are millions more you can’t think of. It’s that other million that concerns me. I’ve been extremely lucky with near misses when it comes to severe weather. I’ve seen it up close and personal but I’ve never been actually impacted. So I don’t really know what to expect if it happens or how I will react either. Back in 2002 when Stockton was hit hard I was at work in the next town over. And I watched as all our local boys set out with chainsaws and pickups to clear the roads so emergency crews could get in. I watched in 2011 as Joplin was wiped by a EF5 tornado, the biggest the come by the way. And I watched last year as Moore, Oklahoma was wiped by an equally strong tornado. I’ve watched. I’ve observed. I’ve never experienced.
My Dad does not have a fear nor a respect for tornadoes. I guess that goes with growing up in Southeast Oklahoma with a dad who was was terrified of them. To hear Daddy tell it the sky got dark Pa would shuttle them to the cellar. (I always wondered as a kid if they slept there every night since it was dark…weird I know.) And they never had a tornado. So Daddy likes to watch the storms. He likes to watch them come in and move across. And if he happens to be out and about when the storm moves in and in the right position he follows behind it just watching. Growing up with his mindset as an example and living in a pretty storm tornado prone area of the country I have mixed feelings about storms. I respect them. I have a huge respect for them. I have first hand seen the damage they can do. I have watched them take over the sky and seen the damage they leave on the ground below. I am also in awe of them. I have watched them take over the sky and seen the damage they leave on the ground below. Given the opportunity I would watch each and every storm that moves through. I don’t know how many pictures I’ve taken through the years of the changing sky. And how many blank pictures I have trying desperately to catch the distant lightning on film. But, I also fear them. I fear personally being in the center of that storm and dealing with the aftermath personally.
This round of storms fills me with awe, curiosity, and fear. But, just like everything in life, I’ve done what I can to prepare. I’ve tried to think of each contingency that could pop up and prepare for it. Plans look great on paper (or in my head) but plans cannot be reality. There’s that million other things I didn’t think of. And of course I can’t tell you a story without paralleling life somehow. It’s what I do. So…here goes. You can plan for life but that’s not actually living life. Life does not follow a plan. Plans are great and provide amazing opportunities for growth, enlightenment and sheer enjoyment. However, just likes storms there is still the need to live with spontaneity. If things don’t go as planned not all is lost. It’s a new opportunity to learn something or be amazed or grow. It’s an opportunity to start over. That whole calm after the storm kind of thing. Be prepared but also be open. I respect storms and I’m awed by them. I’m as prepared as I can be. But I can’t plan for everything, with the storms and with life.