It was another day of missed photo opportunities and a sobering reminder of the fragility of our existence.
I left Ginger and Katie at home, fast asleep and went to the 9 am service. With the children’s choir away I figured attendance would be low. I was right, it was so low there were no ushers, so my friend Edna and I stepped up to the plate (so to speak) with the ushing. This constituted my first missed photo opportunity of the day. I’m sure I could have snuck a quick picture of the pair of us stuck at the back of the church without attracting too much attention.
Back home after church, Ginger took the stitches out of my thumb and finger (another potential picture). It wasn’t quite the success I was hoping for, as within minutes my thumb was bleeding and the wound started to gape a bit. Butterfly closures pulled it back together again though I think we’ve managed to increase any scarring.
I was back at church just after twelve to collect Lanie on her return from the choir trip. That was another picture opportunity missed.
Later in the afternoon I took Katie to the mall parking lot to drive around, yet another chance for a photograph lost. Katie drove around the lot for over an hour. I then took her to try some of the quieter roads near our house, returning home just before six.
By the time we got home there was a tornado watch in place, and the sky was getting really dark. We spent a lot of time watching the radar as a big storm moved in towards Springfield from the west. Outside you could hear the constant rumble and roar of it even though it was over forty miles away. It wasn’t long before we started to see messages on Facebook and Twitter reporting a tornado devastating Joplin some sixty miles to the west. As I write this (Monday pm) the death toll is up to 116, and I fear that may not be the end of it.
In the UK sixty miles is a long way away. From where I lived, sixty miles would see you in France. Something happening that far away would not have the relevance and impact it does here in the midwest, where sixty miles is just down the road; you feel connected with the people affected. You know people with friends and family there. There’s even a chance that some debris from such a storm will end up in your backyard. There are already sites set up to try and reunite people with the missing documents, letters, and photographs scattered in the wind.
A combination of the topography of the Ozark hills and the rotation of the weather system took the worst of the storm to the south of us. Which was good as we don’t have a shelter – just the hall closet which is reserved for the cats and Lanie’s closet which is reserved for us people. Looking at how the buildings were flattened in Joplin it looks like it’d be pretty hard to survive a hit like that in a closet, which naturally makes one stop and think.
As the storm cleared over Springfield we were treated to a spectacular rainbow, some very strange yellow light, similar to the light we encountered on our last brush with a tornado while backpacking back in December. Another chance for a picture missed.
We ended the day watching the movie Thank you for Smoking, which contrary to our expectations was good. That’s when I finally got my act together and took today’s self-portrait.
As for the weather, it’s going to be very unstable for the next few days. Lots of storms and rain. Let’s hope that the conditions for tornadoes are unfavorable.
Copyright © 2011 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.