So I heard this story on NPR this morning about how Joplin was dealing with the horrific toll from the tornado that destroyed 1/3 of the town and killed 162 people. I can't imagine what that must be like. The closest I get is 9/11. Horrible. Tragic.
The story talked about all the increases in alcohol abuse, sexual trauma to children, increase in gambling, and so on. It also mentioned how kids will ask if the tornado is coming back when something innocent like the wind blowing storngly happens. The answer to the little girl's question is of course yes, the tornado is coming back. Every year. Count on it. Roll of the dice if it hits the town again. This is what gets me - if you live in the Southeast (where I grew up) or Tornado Alley - the tornados are coming. If you live on a beach, erosion will eventually take your land if a hurricane doesn't get to you first. Oh, also, if you live on a hill, you shold probabaly be aware of earthquakes, mud slides and for pete's sake, watch out for wildfires. I'm not an ad for anti-depressants - I'm just saying let's be realistic.
I'm fascinated by the way we anthropomorphize storms and nature in general. The cruel truth is that nature doesn't care about us. There are no "viscious" storms, or "cruel" winds...those are human judgements that we put on a non-human entity. (another pet peeve: reporting that someone lost their battle against cancer - they didn't lose - the cancer wasn't playing, it was just doing what it does - I hate the way that saying makes it seem like some people just didn't fight hard enough)
So what's my point? My point is that nature won't change...fires will burn, tornados will come, floods will happen...the key is that WE, the humans in the picture, CAN adapt...what's fascinating is when we don't. I rant about putting wires back on poles so they can be knocked down again instead of burying them...people rant back telling me about the cost but I ask (and never get an answer) how many times can you pay to put them back on poles before the cost levels out? ...but back to the tornados...
Humans have this remarkable ability to adapt. We walk upright. Have opposable thumbs. Binocular vision. We adapt. We change. We also have an amazing capacity to face tragedy and come back and I think what's happened is maybe the wires got crossed...did we confuse adapting with a lack of courage? So here's what I think...if you live in tornado alley, have you thought about an underground home? They can be beautiful, energy efficient and they could give a crap about high winds. If you live at the beach, poles. Hills prone to mudslides, earthquakes and/or wildfires? Get used to no insurance.
I'm sorry but I'm just amazed that we who have descended from Australopithecus afarensis, have refused our heritage. have refused to adapt. So yes, to those folks in Joplin, to my families living in Kansas and Georgia, to dear friends living in California and Oregon and Washington, to more family lving in Florida - those tornados are coming back - they can't adapt - can we?