Jun 3, 2013

Living In Oklahoma...Tornado Season

Since all the commotion in my little home state the past few weeks, I'm getting asked a lot what it's like to live in Oklahoma during tornado season. As I sat with no power Friday night listening to hail and wind and rain pound our house until the early morning, I typed this on my ipad.

In the early part of summer, as the wind whips the plains, the mood in the atmosphere above Oklahoma begins to change. Carefree moments of spring fade and a watchfulness goes up to the sky. Factors once ignored individually are now documented in groups: the wind, the heat, the air and the rain are tracked, calculated and re-assessed.
And we've grown so good at this process, years of sky watching and debating, has made every farmer, lawyer, mechanic; experts in the laws of physics and vortexes and timing.

When the air grows stale, and the Oklahoma heat gives way to a musty, heavy presence, all eyes look up. As the clouds roll in, we roll out our safety measures: shelters packed with food and water, blankets and pillows stuffed in closets and bathtubs. Candles, flashlights, batteries, generators and radios become close at hand. And we wait. And calculate. Tune into our favorite storm tracker as regularly scheduled programming is suspended and prime time is now maps of city streets and local emergency protocols.
And when the air and the wind and the rain and the timing form a perfect, hellacious union, a finger of the sky touches the earth. It begins to spin.
The turbulence and force, wind and rain breed hail and clouds of debri, which uproots trees and demolishes homes. Seconds, minutes, hours rush together and then lull into waiting. Power flashes on then off, on then back off. Candles get lit and flash lights clicked. Board games and coloring sheets are the only entertainment and a radio is the only connection to the outside world.

And all eyes look to the sky.

Things quiet. People come out of the ground, their shelters, their bathtubs.

Assessing what's been lost and whose lost what comes next. Hugs and tears and "thank you Lords" passed out to all, regardless of your status of relationships. Because the morning after a storm is always the most beautiful. Like the arms of a dangerous lover, the fervor of the night before is replaced by the sweet calm of morning. Thankfulness washes anew and the petty things of yesterday are replaced with reminders of the truly important.

And all eyes look to the sky.

It's now that our work begins. Re-building a house or passing out water, its all the same to us. We'll fix our fence, then offer to help you with yours. It is a part of who we are, these storms we've come to expect and respect and deep down we revere this time, this season, because it has formed who we have become. So don't ask us why we live here or why we don't leave. Because the only way to recover from a storm is to face it, prepared. Not run away from it.

- Hugs n Love,



Carla said...

As I live in North Alabama - Dixie Alley - and in the metro area of the #1 city in the US for tornado caused damage (at least until this past month)...I totally get it. For us, it's March through early May, and October-ish. Know our hearts here in Alabama are with you all in Oklahoma. This totally resonated with me. Totally.

Unknown said...

Carla-thank you!