Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Talking About the Weather

In 1989, when I was ten, I was living in the Hudson Valley By then, I'd seen plenty of snow, ice, and sometimes flooding, but I never once worried about tornadoes. Then, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, there was exactly that. A tornado. It came without much warning and it hit an elementary school. My mom worked a few miles up the road. I was in school a few miles in the opposite direction.

Seven children died that day as they ate their lunch.

A: Coldenham Elementary B. Where my mother worked C. My school

I don't remember whether we hid under desks or stood in the hall or whether we even knew what was happening in that school miles away. But I do remember my mother, running up the walk to the front door of my school that afternoon. I remember the clack of her heels against the pavement, the touch of her jacket against my cheek as she lifted me up, and her soft cries in my ear. I didn't quite understand, but I knew it was bad, and I hugged her so tightly, my legs wrapped around her back.

Today I remember those children from Coldenham Elementary School. I think of Oklahoma. And I grieve. I grieve and I hold on to the strength that lies within the human spirit.

What else can we do?

We're under tornado watch here in DFW this afternoon. I'm watching the forecast, getting prepared, and remembering the odds are in our favor. What else can I do?