>incident ahead


My routine route to and from work each day follows the tornado’s Sunday path. Hot pink wind-proof signs and electronic reader boards flash warnings on the highway that cuts down from the cliffs that separate our area of town from the rest of town: Incident ahead.

After the incident was done incidenting, we had crawled out of the crawl space underneath my house — dismayed to find so much hail damage to the five vehicles parked outside my home. While we were hunkered down in the hunker space (we renamed it while we were there), we texted and called those who matter the most to us. Once we reached everyone and knew they were safe, it was easier to ride out the storm. I had always heard about how loud a tornado gets right before it strikes, so as long as we didn’t have to shout to each other, I assumed we were out of the tornado’s path – which we saw through our kitchen window right before we grabbed the pups and cell phones and took shelter.

Once the tornado sirens ceased their wailings, I studied my son’s body language after he came back inside from investigating the damage outside my home. Hard to lose out to a hail storm — but then our phones began to ring. Friends wanting to know if we were okay and letting us know of the damage done just a few blocks from where we were. A best friend’s home flooded with eight feet of standing water in the basement was the hardest to hear. A street’s length of businesses and one of the largest structures in our state were destroyed when the tornado touched down. Miracles of miracles, no one was injured. It didn’t take but a moment for each of us to realize what might have been if only. I watched my son’s body language change into an expression of blessing. Pure bless is what we’ve since named how it feels to come so close to an incident.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

6 responses to “>incident ahead

  1. >Label me redundant but I'm glad you're safe and that Will saw the blessing in that.

  2. >Wow! Scary–glad all your loved ones are safe.

  3. >Wow – I'm glad you're okay. I had no idea this had even happened. Have you been through one of these before? It must have been frightening.

  4. >john- this is a good subject to be redundant about. right now i am sick at heart because i keep learning of more damage than was initially reported, and much of this damage is uninsured because it involved groundwater (which requires flood insurance). families my kids and i have known for years have suffered huge losses. but thankfully no loss of life.kristin- yes, everyone here feels so blessed that no one was injured. there is an account in the newspaper today of a homeless man who whose camp was alongside the creek that runs through the tornado zone- he survived by wrapping himself around a tree trunk for 15 minutes. oy.hi rose-glad you are back from your trippy. i haven't been through this before. what has everyone here startled was that the sky/clouds gave no warning clue conditions were ripe for a tornado. we've seen the signs before (black clouds, green atmosphere) but this time the sky didn't even look like we might have more than a casual rain.

  5. >Sorry to hear that, about the damage Sherry.

  6. >Wow. Your post is powerful in its understatement. I can visualize you and your family in the hunker space. I've been through hurricanes. During Wilma, just in case, when the winds were at their worst and we could hear the tiles ripping and tumbling off of our roof, after seeing the tree in the front yard go down, we had our son hunker into the bathtub, ready to pull an old crib mattress we still had over the top of the tub to protect himself (he was eleven then). I'm glad you are okay, and there was no loss of life in your area, including the homeless man.

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