Delta Dreaming: Destruction

There isn’t much more a person can say about the storm damage in our state. Multiple deaths and massive property damage should cause us all to stop and reflect on the vagaries of life. From this day on, each of us will view the world differently. It certainly makes a person want to spend time with loved ones in a more meaningful manner.


Yesterday I spent most of the day in two international airports on the way home from Cincinnati. I was amazed at the number of families I saw, apparently on vacation, siting around completely oblivious of one another as they texted, played video games, or talked on their phones. Behind them, video monitors panned images of families who had lost everything, some even their families. What if your last memory of a loved one was that they annoyed you while you were checking your e-mail?


It sort of makes a person think. I know it did that for me.


They are still digging through the rubble. Now we are hearing stories of lost pets and the finding of debris from destroyed homes two counties away from the area of impact. Doubtless there will emerge accounts of miraculous rescues and survival.


One of the areas hit was the childhood home of a college friend. He told me once of a tornado during his youth that had taken his home. The area seems to be a repeating pathway for such storms. Of their entire home, the only belongings ever recovered were some valentines he had received in grade school, found in a field a mile away.


The English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, in his famous work “In Memoriam,” of “nature red in tooth and claw.” He warns us not to look to nature for moral guidance. It is a savage, indifferent, and terrifying place at times. The spring storms that move through our state teach us that all too well. We think we can control our environment. This must make nature laugh.


For myself, I just spent three days with friends in the north. We saw interesting things, relived memories, and talked. And talked. And talked. Several times I laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks. This will not be an appropriate day for laughing. It will be, though, an appropriate day for hugging and paying attention.


One never knows where or when the next storm of life will hit.



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The von Tungeln Family Tree
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