We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep
Prospero – The Tempest
The reality of living in tornado alley is that, at some point, the tempest will find you. Tornado sirens are a somewhat normal occurrence. Every Saturday that isn’t stormy, we know when the clock strikes noon. We grow up watching weathermen track the course of hail cores and hook echoes and have at least a passing knowledge of the difference between an F3 and an F5. The tempests that sweep across the Plains States are an expected fact of life.
I am certainly not alone in being able to recount personal tales of tempests that have impacted my life. By and large, while family have been impacted, I have personally escaped direct harm. The repercussions of various storms have definitely left their mark.
About five years ago, my parents home where I lived for many years was destroyed. The trees I used to climb were stripped of foliage, many snapped like twigs. The funnel missed scoring a direct hit by little more than a hundred feet. The violence of the tempest was omnipresent as volunteers worked to help clean up the damage.
Some of my earliest memories are of learning to find shelter when strong storms approach. Tornado watches and warnings are just a fact of life. We know they are going to happen and we learn to make the best of it.
The Oklahoma Standard
Tornadoes can take us out at any time, yet we live on. We do not give in to the threat. We certainly don’t give in when they do strike. Across the country, we band together to help each other the best we can. We know that it could have been us and we want to help our neighbors.
It is amazing to me that so many of us treat tornadoes as a distraction and give in so easy to life’s other tempests. Tornadoes are terrible and chaotic. Life as a whole can be, too. Imagine if our neighbors responded en masse to a less news worthy tempest. Not just our family and friends. Not just the neighbors on our street. Imagine if, like electric company trucks driving in convoy across multiple states, others came to your aid in your quiet, isolated hour of need.
Everyone should get the opportunity to enjoy more beautiful skies in their life. I suppose, given how our neighbors respond to a larger tempest, the answer is clear: It starts with me.