Monday, May 7, 2012

Greensburg Anniversary

This past weekend was the fifth anniversary of the devastating Greensburg tornado.  

I remember five years ago my ex had just gotten out of the Army and we were staying with my Dad here, which, at that time, was his farm, while we were house hunting.  It was shortly before everything fell apart--we never did get a house.  That night, though, and the subsequent days, I will never forget.  We were watching the weather on TV, knowing things were getting bad, but it was truly unbelievable when we heard that Greensburg had been virtually wiped off the face of the earth...and that same tornado was still on the ground going strong and heading straight toward us.

I remember such an eerie, frightened feeling looming as thick as the humidity.  All we could do is wait.  At some point it finally became evident that the tornado would stay to the west of us.  As I became thankful that the farm would be safe, I began to worry about my horses who were pastured on 60 acres to the west.  When the tornado went through it was dark and there was nothing I could do but wait until morning.

First thing in the morning at first light I drove out to the pasture.  Thankfully all the debris was either easily avoided or moved and I was able to get out there without a lot of trouble.  When I got closer I was happy to see the tornado had missed my pasture by about a mile--all my horses were safely contained within the pasture fence.  

After checking on my horses I headed north and checked on a lady who had bought a couple of horses from me.  She lived alone and was right in the path of the tornado, so I was very worried about her.  As I drove toward her house my heart raced--everything coming up to her house was obliterated.  I couldn't believe what I saw, though, when I got to her little farm.  It was virtually untouched!  For some reason the tornado had skipped right over her house and then went on to take out a feedlot grain bin not even half a mile away.  People talk about tornadoes being such odd weather events in that way, but on that day those stories became a reality for me. 

I'm very blessed to have never been directly hit by a large tornado *knock on wood*.  I'm so thankful that on that day, five years ago, the farm that would one day become mine was spared, as were my horses and my friend's place.  It's hard to believe that was five years ago.  One one hand, the trees to the west of here still show the scars of that awful night like it was only a few months ago.  On the other hand, now having been divorced for so long, moving to Texas, then Missouri, and then back here to the farm, it seems like that was an entire lifetime ago.  

Although I escaped having to physically rebuild my life that night, I never thought I'd be going through an emotional rebuilding of sorts.  And just as Greensburg has recovered and has made a new start, so have I. 

Recover, rebuild, and renew,


juliette said...

Glad you and all your horses were fine. Life does change so quickly and weather events like that one seem to hasten the changes. Tornados are particularly harsh it seems to me. Their violence is scary! I always say that Kansas must be incredibly beautiful to make up for the occasional possibility of complete devastation.

Sandy Sandy said...

I can feel your emotional intensity here, Jessie.
Having lived for a short time in KS as a kid, tornados hit close to home and will remain a part of who I am. I've always thought, in a strange way, they are so powerful and also mystical. If this is not so, why are huge areas wiped clean and others (often right in the thick of it) left untouched? It's like the destruction purposely or knowingly bounced, or skipped over something. I suspect you have very good karma my dear!