I often speak about the beauty and my good fortune of living in the Northeast region of the United States. Over the past few years my appreciation for this gift has grown as has my compassion for those who live in increasingly dangerous weather climates. Whether it be tornado, mud slide, forest fire or other damaging condition, we have seemed untouched, except for two floods in the last 43 years that caused damage but no loss of life. Last evening we got a taste of what it feels like to experience the likely possibility of a tornado.
It began in the afternoon when the warnings were announced on the media and in the palpable sense of danger when I stepped outside. I understand a little now how the animals feel when the impulse to move to higher or otherwise safer ground embedded in their being clicks on. It was as if a subtle pressure was leaning against my body and an alertness took over my mind. Then there was the inner call to get home, the place of safety, to ride out the storm together. Reports kept coming of damages in places to our south and west as we closed windows, moved outside furniture from the deck to the ground, turned off computers and unplugged everything else in the house. Then we waited.
I had worried in anticipation about two things: first that the roof would blow off the house and secondly that a branch of our huge, ancient maple trees would crash into the house. As soon as we made the preparations, however, my fears were calmed, as if being together was enough to remind me that we would be able to withstand anything the storm could do.
Most of our area is still without power this morning. Thunder, lightning and wind were certainly fierce but I have not heard if an actual tornado touched down. Once again I sit in gratitude for my life. Having experienced all the feelings of yesterday gives me a greater felt sense of solidarity for others whom I am more and more aware of naming my sisters and brothers. And again I hear Jan Phillips singing inside: Because the One I love lives inside you, I lean as close to you as I can…