Carol A. Hand
Of late, I often find myself wondering if I am truly odd. It’s not a question I can ask family or colleagues. But I do wonder, and the aftermath of the severe storms that blew through here last night brought the question to mind again.
As storm clouds raced overhead, trees writhed violently in the furious winds. New and repeated warnings interrupted the classical radio station I listen to every few minutes – severe storms surrounded us. Tornadoes, high winds, torrential rain and large hail.
I sat on my back porch watching the trees and the sky, feeling the tremendous power of the storm. I felt connected to the earth and life around me in a way I’ve not experienced before. I could feel what I imagined was the anguish of the earth and the thin layer of atmosphere that makes our planet habitable.
How could we all fail to realize our connection to the earth and air as we continuously breathe in that atmosphere in order to survive? We are literally interwoven with the air and earth and water that surround and sustain us.
Photo: Duluth, June 19, 2016 (photographer, Jnana Hand)
As I watched the dark clouds race and boil, I wondered if my pets, neighbors, and I would survive the storm. But the thought didn’t frighten me. Instead, I gathered tobacco and walked into the wind to pray for everyone and all life in the path of the storm.
Years ago, I was too frightened to face the storms. I remember my last evening in Bloomington, Illinois in late summer, 2004. I huddled in the only inner hallway in my fragile little matchstick house with my faithful dog as tornado sirens blasted for hours. I remember my heart pounding, afraid to move or even look up. Afraid to breathe deeply.
I wondered what has changed since those days past. I wondered if the power I felt in that moment last evening as I prayed and offered tobacco to the earth and winds would be enough. I wondered if others were sending similar prayers as well, or were they huddled in their houses as I was years ago.
We were spared the worst of the storms, although this morning I awoke to piles of broken branches. But the trees are still standing here. And the struggling plants in my gardens survived as well.
I wonder if the power I felt was real. Is it the transformative power of love sent out without any expectations on behalf of others? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s just imagination or wishful thinking. Still, I’m just grateful we all survived to love another day.
I am curious to hear about your experiences and thoughts …