When I was a child I was terrified of thunderstorms. The first sight of rain would prompt me to search the house frantically until I found The Brother then proceed to cry and shake with worry. The Brother and I would cower in his bedroom under the blanket shivering with fear.
I mostly blame this on the tornado drills we had in school. As a Midwestern girl, tornado drills were frequent and of vital importance at a young age. My classmates and I would be sitting at a large table with our craft supplies spread out, laughter ringing through the room as we created paintings of Easter eggs. Suddenly, the alarm sounded, the laughter died and everything came to an abrupt halt. Craft projects forgotten, everyone filed into the hallway and tucked their heads between their legs. The Principal would come over the loudspeaker and announce “This is a drill.” The fun activities interrupted, we’d file back into the classroom in a deathly silence. The teacher would get the tornado picture book out and share with us the scientific reasons for tornadoes, show pictures of tornadoes in full swing and finally, the devastating damage caused by the storm.
Being the tender heart, the images scarred me. I would be upset for the remainder of the day (or longer). How incredibly sad. One stormy night, fed up with my sadness and fear of storms, my father dragged my brother and I out to our covered front-porch in the throws of the storm. My father held me to his lap as I writhed in terror, tears streaming down my face. Thunder cracked in the distance, the earth shook. I screamed and cried the fattest tears. My brother stood next to my dad with his hand on my shoulder for comfort, I could feel his hand shake through my sweater.
Lightning flashed the sky, there was loud crack that sent the house into darkness behind us. My mom opened the front door and asked if we were okay. I sat dumbfounded on my dad’s lap, too afraid at that point to shed more tears. My dad wrapped his arms around me again and whispered, “It’s okay” in my ear. My dad, brother and I sat out the storm. After what seemed to be hours, the rain stopped, the sky cleared and we traipsed into the houe to tell mom our war stories. We reagailed her with stories of the “baddest lightening EVER!” and “You shoulda seen it mom!” excitement. We survived and we were on top of the world.
Since that day I’ve loved thunderstorms. The Husband and I live by a huge lake that affords us a spectacular view of the beautiful Midwest storms that roll through Kansas. Most stormy nights will find me in the open garage staring up at the dark and facinating sky. I don’t feel the wind, the rain or thunder. I become one with the storm, thriving on it’s beauty and power.
I’ve never witnessed a tornado with my own eyes. I imagine if I ever have the unfortunate opportunity, I’ll run screaming like a small child to the hallway of my elementary school where you will find me with my head tucked between my knees.
I’ve experienced the calm for the past month… the storm’s brewing.