>Spring Has Sprung in Oklahoma
I love spring. I love the color of flowers and the green of blooming trees everywhere, new life of the animals all around. I live in the country and its so nice to open my windows in the morning and hear birds chirping and whistling so loud their voices echo as I write. At night it’s the coyotes singing and night birds that make me smile. Life is good at these times.
Last week my youngest daughter turned another year older. As if most of us needs anything to help us remember some of those landmark dates; she will never forget her 21st birthday. It was the day Oklahoma got hit by 37 tornadoes in about 4 hours. One was just a little over a mile from where she was working at the store she and her husband had just purchased in March! I feel it was fortunate that it happened at rush hour on a week day. Why, you may ask, is that so good? Well, it’s my opinion, but it was daylight-you can’t see tornadoes at night- and though people were congregated in areas and most were able to find shelter quickly, most had also left their jobs/schools, but were not yet home.
My niece’s Vo-Tech was hit by a small tornado while a few people/students were there getting ready for their graduation. The building Pam was to graduate in the following night, where the people were that night, was hit hard. Two horses were hurt, not seriously, and most of the barns and out buildings for the barns had some or total destruction. Pam had just finished her second year of Equine Production; the barns were her classroom, the horses her studies.
Another school, elementary, was hit, but it was around 5 pm, so no kids/people were there. People weren’t all home yet being stuck with rush hour and after-work errands. Lots of homes were wiped completely away and they were mostly empty because, everyone was stuck in the rush hour traffic trying to get to their homes after a long Monday. One woman my daughter told me about (her friend’s mother) was on her way home from work to an area that had heavy damage/destruction (her home was not). Her car radio on, she heard warnings to get out of vehicles and take cover. She stopped at a Love’s gas station/truck stop and ran inside where she was immediately pushed to the floor by someone, while others hid inside big coolers for shelter. Just seconds later, the most damaging of the tornadoes nearly leveled the station, but no one was seriously hurt or killed. On the news there were semi trucks with trailers everywhere that had been tossed and moved around like a child’s toys. I heard a story yesterday of a young man who had been at the lake swimming, and dove under water after watching his pickup roll across the parking area and then take flight. I wonder if he knows one tornado reportedly formed over that lake?
During the storm, from where I live it visually seemed like nothing more than a typical brief, harsh storm; dark clouds and wind blown rain. I looked out my western windows and saw bright sunshine. To the east was the dark clouds and a big fat rainbow.
Did it occur to me to take pictures? No. For, even though we weren’t in the path of the rage, I was as terrified as so many others were. Not for myself. Two of my daughters and their families lived under that beautiful rainbow; both in the path of the second tornado and I couldn’t get either of them on the phone for much too long! I finally got hold of the oldest traveling from work, and because she passes by the younger one’s store on her way home, she was able to check on her sister and then call me. And, even though I personally wasn’t in the storm (I’m just 25 miles from either of those daughters) I stood to lose as much as the people who had lost everything material. My daughters/granddaughters and husband are my life, what I live for. I thank God I didn’t lose anyone and prayerfully cry for the one’s who did.
Wide paths of destruction and days of no electric for many, my daughter’s included in the power loss, followed the two biggest tornadoes with five lives reported lost. It was a scary day. A sad day. It was in many ways-and unfortunately, too often- a fairly typical spring day in Oklahoma, USA. We were blessed on May 10, 2010 that homes and belongings, material stuff that can be replaced or done without, were the main, though by no means the greatest, losses this time.
Two hours later the sky was clear, and other than the devastation and continued news reports carrying over the air ways, it was hard to tell what had been going on here that day from where I live. But, even though the birds were singing after the storm the same as they had before it, I didn’t hear them.
And then life goes on. No more news reports. No more burning up the Internet with horror stories. But, it’s still all around us.
Things are not ‘back to normal’, though life went on as it always does after one of these storms. As I travel and speak to others , the devastation is still very apparent, sometimes by nothing more than a large highway sign twisted in another direction as though a huge truck had hit it. It’s twisted in the wrong direction, and you just know. You feel the sadness even in that seemingly insignificant symbol.
We don’t forget; we move past. We have to.
Dodadagohvi~ Thank God