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storm of the century

8 May 2009

I’ve lived my whole life in southwest Missouri. I’m used to tornado-warning level storms. I have vivid memories of tornado drills. In elementary school, tucking under my desk or lined up in a hallway, lucky if I decided to wear something comfortable that day. Or working at MSA, the chaos of fitting 330 sixteen-year-olds in a dorm basement.

I often feel Springfield weathermen overreact and overestimate, (still bitter over the night they interrupted The Office) but this morning was the real deal.
Holy crap scary.
The sky was GREEN. And not just on the radar screen. I don’t remember ever seeing the sky look that way. Was awake way early this morning, and was reading to try to settle back down to sleep. Startled a little by thunder sounds, then sirens. Peeked outside and saw the sky. Switched on KY3. Couldn’t see much outside because the wind was so heavy.
Thinking to myself, I don’t want to die today.

So I sat safely in my stairwell, with jenksie cat reluctantly in her pet taxi, and thinking big thoughts about Things I Should’ve Said and Things I Should Not Have Said.
And thinking about when I was a little kid and would retreat to a safe hallway with my stuffed cat Shadow, my bible, my fisher price boom box (with microphone!), my journal, and whatever purse was my favorite at the time.

At MSA every summer we do an activity where the kids have to name a handful of possessions they would save from a fire, and then gift them to other people in the group. It’s meant to show how valued possessions help highlight our values, and build team unity by sharing these items.
Often this devolves into “well, you said you liked music, so I’m giving you my saxophone…” and maybe that’s as meaningful a gesture you can expect from some kids that age.

It’s funny, I’m far away from 16, and even further away from childhood spring evenings in tornado-prone rural Christian County. But I still find myself grasping at my most important STUFF in my retreat to safety. Kitty. My purse. My computer. My camera.
I think about my journals. Piles of handwritten notes and ideas.
My scrapbooks and boxes of photos. Mementos from trips.
My bookshelf. Wouldn’t want to lose any of my books, especially treasured ones with margin notes and dog-eared pages, but there’s no way I can haul my whole shelf and its contents into my safe stairwell.
Then a lot of other things, into which I’ve invested hundreds of dollars, don’t seem so important in the moment of (mostly imagined) crisis.
My clothes. Shoes. DVDs. TV. Holy crap craft supplies.
Leaves me thinking, What really matters? Who really matters?

Sitting there thinking, it’s odd that soon enough the storm will pass, and I will go about a normal day. (Unless, of course, a tornado still strikes. In that event, I will regret not bringing a bra and jeans to my stairwell retreat as well.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 May 2009 2:34 pm

    You used the word “bra” in your post and I completely forgot everything else about which you wrote because I am 14 years old. Ha. Funny how I can read over profanity now without stopping but something like “bra” gets my attention.

  2. Hina Kabir permalink
    9 May 2009 6:47 am

    lol @ Leah. Yeh that was a lil out-of-place ;p
    I still have not started my work out ;( keep track of your blog so that i get some motivation some day but this one post…its lovely and sound so familiar…things we wish to do, words we want to say in the time of crises…and once its over, everything just flashes away and we are back to ‘normal’…ah….no matter where we are…no matter who we are…we are all different people with more or less the same thoughts!

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