Posts Tagged: Tornado

Cleaning Up after a Tornado

Finding a needle in a haystack. Counting all the grains of sand on a beach. Or, the stars in the  night sky. Impossible tasks and clichés. Add to that list, cleaning debris from a seventeen acre farm field. Pieces of houses, of lives, bits of shingles, wisps of insulation, particle board, vinyl siding, fences broken down. All of it strewn among the uncut grass, held in brambles and barbed-wire fence. Black tubs brought out for personal items, a photo among the twisted weeds. Hours spent picking up, only to look down and see more, see what was missed. It’s daunting. The scale is immense. How many stars in the sky? How many pieces of homes in a farm field? Where does one begin? How does one make sense of the scene, process what was and no longer is?

Fluffed pieces of insulation
yellow and pink against green
notes left by a tornado.

We’re Safe

Last night’s tornado hit ten miles south of us and devastated Mayflower, before moving east toward Vilonia. Conway was unaffected by the storm, but not it’s aftermath, as friends and co-workers lost their homes, and in some cases, their lives.

It’s a sombre day. A day of images flooding social media. A day of phone calls and text messages. A day of saying we’re here. We’re okay.

On this morning, I return to the word spared repeatedly. When a natural disaster hits, it’s hard to come to terms with the implacable mindlessness behind the event. Force and destruction that follows no discernible process. So that word spared. A shaping of a storm. A path laid out. A tornado, half a mile wide, and luckily ten miles away. Life continues normally here, while nearby emergency crews are coordinating relief efforts. Spared, in this sense, reminds me of vulnerability. It reminds me of the indifference of nature. There was no consciousness at work, no decision. We were spared by the random coming together of a storm, a confluence of high and low pressure that gusted through Arkansas on an April evening.

If you’d like to help with the relief effort, a list is being compiled of ways you can help out. Let’s meet acts of nature with acts of humanity. Let’s spare our neighbors further grief.