Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tornado Warning

For the last twenty four hours, we had been anticipating a major tornadic storm to be headed for Oklahoma.  As time passed, the concern over this storm intensified.  We all knew it was coming, but had no idea just exactly what to expect.

As the day wore on today, I kept checking the weather online and could see nothing on the radar so I wasn't too concerned yet.  The reports were saying the storm would hit between 3pm and 5pm.  Around 2:30pm this afternoon, concerned parents began arriving at my school, checking out students in a chaotic manner.  Tinker Air Force Base cancelled the evening shift, Edmond Public Schools cancelled evening functions, and the news reports were predicting violent tornadoes.

I texted my own kids who were already home and told them to make some initial preparations, just in case.  They, of course, thought I was in panic mode.  I was just trying to be smart.  You never know about these things in Oklahoma.  Storms can turn deadly without warning.  But because we have an excellent team of meteorologists in the area, I felt confident that by listening to them I'd stay informed. 

Caroline went to the garage to get our caving helmets - gotta protect our heads.  She piled blankets in the bathroom.  Brad walked around shaking his head like we were crazy.  I reminded him it was no big deal.  We could easily just put the stuff back, but we'd have it ready just in case.  We grabbed caving lights, a few candles and matches, and tennis shoes.

Those were the basics.  Now, what else was important to me?  What else did I want near in case tornadoes did hit us?  What would I want right next to me besides my children?  What would I hang on to for dear life if this monstrous storm came knocking at our door?

As a woman, I, of course, grabbed my purse, putting the cash I had stashed away inside of it.  My precious camera was next.  My laptop with all of its jump drives on which I have backed up all my data was carefully nestled into its red case.  My Barnes and Noble bag that has all my junk in it - bills to pay, the New Mexico map that I have been wagging around for two weeks, my little red book of inspiration that I keep - was the next thing I took to the bathroom which would be our shelter. 

I was wearing my silver and peridot ring that I bought myself for my birthday several years ago.  I'd never spent so much on a piece of jewelry for myself.  This was a unique piece that meant a lot to me.  I wear it every day.  But was there other jewelry that I should take?  I had some antique jewelry that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother but I didn't want to mess with it.  Maybe in a fire, but not for a tornado.  There was a piece given to me by someone special several years ago.   A turquoise pendant - a piece of turquoise from New Mexico and a piece of turquoise from Montana were on this pendant....it represented both of us.  That I would hold on to during a tornado.

Other than that, I didn't put anything else into the bathroom, just in case the tornado did hit.  At one point, we thought we might ditch the apartment and head for the "tornado church" as Caroline used to call it.  It is a church here in Edmond that has a basement.  We've visited it a couple of times before during tornado season. 

We were ready...just in case.  As we watched the coverage though, we quickly realized that the storm was not going to hit us.  It moved north of us.  I am so grateful, because as I sit here typing this, the news coverage is showing the immense damage of those who were hit by the storm.  People are looking for pets, photographs, any evidence of their lives prior to this storm. 

I sit here, with my laptop out of its case now, on my comfy bed, with a glass of wine next to me on my nightstand.  All is well in my world.  My kids and I are all still alive and well.  I still have all the belongings that I treasured enough to take to my bathroom shelter.  I still have my pile of laundry to do.  Many people out there wish they could find just one piece of clothing that belonged to them. 

So many people have been devastated by the vicious tornadoes that have barreled through Tornado Alley recently.  It reminds you of how precious life is and how very little meaning "stuff" actually has. I like my stuff and  it's nice to have, but in the end, it's just stuff.  The lives of those I love are much more precious to me than anything else I could possibly lose whether to a tornado, fire, bankruptcy, or divorce. 

As I continue to watch the coverage of the devastation of the areas in Oklahoma hit by the tornado, I see people with that same attitude.  They are grateful to be alive.  Their homes have been flattened beyond recognition, years of hard work gone in an instant, precious memorabilia destroyed.  Yet the resiliency of the human spirit is so powerful, so inspiring, it reminds me that we are capable of anything....anything.  We can get through anything that life throws us and we can do it with grace and love.


Kelli Thomas said...

Test comment

turquoisemoon said...

We just had hail tonight, but my favorite stuff is still downstairs from last night. I have my favorite turquoise jewlry and some old Native American pottery that I lug downstairs during spring tornado season. Yes...it's just stuff, but I do love them and try to protect these my special things. Of course my children are grown so my BF, dog, birds and I will make a mad dash if the sirens go off. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones, and homes...everything. When you live in tornado alley, this is part of the spring ritual. Right now I feel safe, but have learned to keep a constant weather vigil. I watch the news and just wonder/worry about those who have suffered from these storms. I offer my prayers for their peace and protection and continued resiliency. Well with the sound of rolling thunder, I'm off to bed. Stay safe...

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