Friday, June 3, 2011


A beautiful day today. And in the middle of our small state, people in Springfield and other towns we didn't know the names of, like Monson and Brimfield, woke up to what should have been a bad dream, but  persisted in being the fact. Houses, buildings, trailers, a used car lot, smashed and stomped by wind turned mean. It's hard for people not to assign malevolent qualities to a tornado. And especially this spring: the south, Missouri, and now New England. Something is going on out there. It's still somewhere else, even though only an hour and a half away, so it's not our reality the way it's theirs. For us it's TV images. For them it's their home and all their possessions snatched away or demolished. It's getting on the phone to insurance agents all day and dealing with itemized lists of furniture, clothes, books, pictures, and neighbors coming over with food and relatives calling frantically. Somehow in time it will shrink and harden into the Tornado of 2011 as the injuries heal and life goes on. But now it's people hugging and saying things like "I'm still in shock," and "Thank God we—" and "We lost everything. Everything! Every single thing we own." And thinking about the basics: food, water, a place to sleep, friends. Not here, but there, and not far but near. Amazing.

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