Provided it's night. And I'm inside. And east of the Alleghenys. And north of the Mason Dixon. And south of the Hudson Bay.
We are pretty sheltered here in these parts. A rogue hurricane once in awhile. Winds don't go much above 40 but so often. Hail smaller than the diamond on your finger. Storms are in and out in a half hour, usually less.
Growing up in Erie, we had tornado drills. I'm guessing they closely resembled the air raid drills from a generation before. Tuck under the desk. Tuck behind the coats. Tuck under the lunch tables.
One must tuck to keep safe.
I've never been in a real tornado, but I've watched plenty skies turn green. Plenty waterspouts form over the lake to the north, pick up to travel over the city and touch as a twister out down south in the county where there is some open space.
One must look north to keep safe.
In grade school, the brother of a pair of sisters- one a grade up from and one a grade lower than me- died in a tornado. The girls said they were tucked in the basement, eyes to the (north) window, when it happened. A wind whipped around and took a hubcap off the wall. It sliced through the little boys neck, practically taking his head clean off.
I have two deep seated fears.
I never realized where they came from until ten days ago.
Ten days ago, I was supposed to be in North Carolina at a good friend's wedding. We were going to drop Jacob at my dad's in Raleigh and drive out to the Outer Banks for a few days. A nice trip for everyone. Much needed after the way the first third of the year has gone. But we couldn't go. Couldn't do it. Too exhausted.
A tornado hit Raleigh-Durham that weekend, and cleared just about everything a few miles down a piece from dad's. You probably heard the story about the Lowes being leveled. That's the one. That's the tornado that would have passed by my son.
They are fine. The house is fine. Jake would have been fine, assuming they would have been home. But I would have been a mess. The thought of Jake being that close to a tornado, without me, without power, without telephone lines, without his dad, without his stuff, without without without (his head) has me dry heaving.
I was upset we didn't go down for the wedding. Upset we were so put out by life that a 400 mile drive felt like it would break us. Upset. Upset. Upset.
But I'm glad we didn't go.
Glad I've discovered the root of my anxiety over heads and tornadoes. Because before I just couldn't figure out why. All these years.
Now I know that tornadoes+heads are the reason I discovered that children could die. I could die. My little friends could die.
Those phobias came back in full force after becoming a mother. I didn't know why. Now I do. Children die. My son could die.
That's a step. Knowing is half the battle. Moving on.
There's a lot of shit weather happening in our country now. Lots of people being displaced. Being hurt. Being dead.
I ran across a poem yesterday in a book I'm reading for class. The book is called Ghosts from the Nursery. The poem is this:
Do Lawd, come down here and walk amongst yo people
And tek 'em by the hand and telt 'em
That yo ain't hex wid 'em
And do Lawd come yoself,
Don't send yo son
'Cause dis ain't no place fo chillen
It's an old slave poem, written following the 1866 earthquake in Charleston, but it's just as good today as it was then.
Love and prayers and thoughts and energy and positive whodoo to all in the wake of a storm.
Whatever your storm may be.