Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Bit of Wind

Pardon the blogging interruption, but we have been dealing with a bit of wind here in New England.  Last week, a series of tornadoes touched down in the western and central part of the state and left 19 communities reeling.  Folks I work with and for lost homes, all their possessions, and any faith that tornadoes are reserved for out west.  For the record, I think it is a bit of a raw deal that we can now add tornadoes to a list that already includes hurricanes and blizzards.  Also for the record, it is nothing short of a miracle that more people were not killed. 

In our neck of the woods, hysteria ensued when a very serious voice emerged in the middle of "Wizards of Waverly Place" and announced the following:  You are in the direct line of a immediate shelter.  Our 1889 basement does not exude the sense that everything is going to be alright.  On the other hand, as roving reporter pointed out, the house has been standing for over 125 years and that should count for something.  In fact, the tornado hopped over our town and travelled south.  My Northern husband did not feel the need to take shelter and continued to cook pasta which he graciously brought down to us, one bowl at a time.  My daughter sobbed "I am so sad that I am not going to get to live out my full life."  My son, the scientist, calmly retorted "there is a small chance we will see our friends again."

As I wrote about in an online newspaper the next day, the crux of these things is trying to manage your own anxiety and calmly reassure your children that everything is going to be alright.  No small task, as it turns out.  In fact, it is an impossible task because we can't know that things are going to turn out OK.  One mother died shielding her teenage daughter from a falling roof, another young man was killed when a tree crashed on top of his van.  Everyday, somewhere things go horribly astray.

The following week-end, I spent some time in a small town hit very hard by the storm.  I watched young people travelling all over town passing out water from a red wagon to their neighbors.  I ate a piece of peach pie dropped off at the fire station by grateful townsfolk thanking their first responders.  When you listen to stories of that day or stories from 9/11 or any life-changing event, you realize that our resilience and desire to do right by each other outweighs our fears.  So, although we don't know things are going to turn out for the best each and every time, we can with confidence tell our children that we live in a community with people who will be there for us every step of the way when trouble comes.

As for my Texas relatives, don't worry about us, we can, indeed, handle a little wind. 

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