Witless at the Sight of the Sky

Ferry Park Tornado.jpg
6 /20/17 Photo credit Wayne Smith, Jr.

On the morning of June 20th, 2017, Wayne Smith, Junior was on his way to work. He was stopped at the traffic light. Or maybe he pulled over to take this photo.

I had been asleep for about 45 minutes when he took that picture. The first tornado warning came through around around two, maybe three am. I put down some blankets in the tub of the hallway bathroom, our go to shelter during hurricane season.

The rain so heavy on the metal roof that it sounded like a drum circle at the end of the world. A hundred tiny freight trains racing across the sky.

And then it was quiet, and eventually, I fell back to sleep. To be wakened by another warning, this time an Amber alert, hundreds of miles away. When I checked my phone, I saw that we had had another tornado warning, but somehow I slept through that one.

I wish now that I hadn’t fallen back to sleep. That I had gone down the hallway, passing by the blanket-padded bathtub, continuing on to the kitchen, where I would have made that pot of coffee that I wanted, given in to the energy of the wild dark night, stepped outside with my coffee, sat on the front porch and been fully alive to greet the dawn.

Had I done so, in that early light, I would have seen it coming.

At the moment when that photograph was taken, the tornado was approaching Ferry Park. Twisting its way through the trees, breaking everything in its path, including destroying a concrete dugout at the baseball field.

I couldn’t have missed seeing it. Only one street – Hughes –  stood between us.

One street, the elementary school, and the neighbors across the street.  All of us in the path of this thing bearing down on us, roaring and spinning and impossible to escape.

But then it stopped, suddenly, rose and leaped into the sky.  That’s the part I really wish I had seen. Stepped out, looked up, fallen back in shock and awe, and then seen the miracle with my own eyes.

Instead, I slept through it.

It would have been a rush, though.

After the rain stopped, I drove around and took some photos. Fortunately, no one was injured. The park was closed for a few days.

park closed
Ferry Park Closed sign at Hughes Street

The blue building in the next photo is what’s left of the concrete dugout. Would have been a bad place to seek shelter from the tornado, but there is a second dugout nearby that wasn’t touched.


Half a blue dugout
Damaged dugout

I don’t know what to make of any of this. Sometimes I feel as if I was supposed to have been raised by wolves but ended up as a puppy in a traveling van.

My husband – the astrologer – says that Uranus is messing with all of us.

This was, by the way, supposed to be a post about our upcoming Solar Eclipse Road Trip.

Got distracted by the cup of coffee that never was.


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