Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eating the Soul

Thursday, a day after the tornados, I fed the Dreamcrusher a piece of my soul...

Today I spent the day in Moulton covering the tornado which chewed up the town and spit it back out. I've only actually seen a couple of tornadoes, but I've seen the destruction of plenty of them. It's the randomness that's so odd. One house here destroyed, the next one perfectly fine. One person killed here - a family miraculously survives right next door. It's like an eraser on the end of a huge pencil...just erasing people's lives at random across a page.

It's the randomness thats what is always so disconcerting. Tornadoes are like a random death delivery device. If you are in the path - odds are not good you are going to survive. It's just luck if you get hit or not - death and chaos from the sky.

There are images that are trapped in my mind two days later:

-A boy who lost his grandparents crying about his lost cat. I had walked past the cat lying dead in the ditch in front of the house. What do you say to a child who lost his grandparents and just wants to find his cat? He just kept crying and calling the cat over and over...

-The brother of a woman who was killed when her refrigerator landed in top of her shook my hand as I was leaving. I was thanking him for letting me into his life for a few hours and he just looked at me - I can't even explain the look. He was just searching for some sort of meaning or understanding - and there is none. I wonder if he'll ever come to terms with that?

-A Beagle with broken legs trying to walk and another Beagle nudging his nose under him to keep him up. The dog was just dragging his legs behind him trying to get - I don't know where, home, I guess. There were dead animals - dogs, cats, horses, even a yellow parakeet smashed with yellow feathers strewn everywhere.

Don't get me wrong, these are images from every tornado. There is nothing different about this one. In fact, I was talking to a videojournalist friend who said it was nothing compared to the 1989 Airport Road tornado where there were dozens killed, my first tornado. True, the magnitude was smaller in some ways but not to the families who lost their mothers, grandmothers, fathers, brothers, etc. To them their world stopped and is as strewn about as the houses and trees which used to surround them. He was very matter-of-fact about it. Sometimes, we get so jaded. The day I get matter-of-fact about crying boys, hollow-eyed brothers, and broken Beagles is the day the Dreamcrusher wins and it's the day I quit. The Dreamcrusher can have a piece of my soul for a day, but that's all.

No comments: