There are two times of year when i get homesick for Oklahoma the most... tornado season and Fall. Most Californians are a little yeller' behind the ears (as my De Dad used to say) when it comes to storms. One flash of lightning and they're hiding under the beds. And thunder? Fuhgedaboutit. It doesn't exist in this neck of the woods. So unless I'm traveling or trying to have a picnic, sping/summer storms are pretty much the bees' knees. (On second thought, though... a rainy picinic can actually turn out quite romantic.... just avoid huddling beneath trees if there's lightning!)
During tornado season, I find myself following the chameleonic Tulsa or Joplin weather, as opposed to the boring, always-sunny California weather. (Who really needs weather guys when its sunny 360 days out of the year?) Its definitely more exciting and takes me back in time to places I love. Like when I was a little girl. We lived just down the street from my elementary school. Whenever there were storms, mom would huddle my sister, brother and I under the stairs with our little battery-powered AM radio, tuned into the weather station. MY dad, on the otherhand, would stand outside on our front porch and watch the storm blow in over us. There were several close calls with tornadoes, but thankfully, we were always protected from the devastation that I know such natural calamities can bring.
There was another time in college... Sean and I were just dating then... I think it had only been a few months. We were at our usual coffee shop/book store hangout, when the manger came over the loudspeaker and told us to either leave or get to the back of the store. (The front was all windows... storms can blow out windows, so we had to get away from them.) Sean and I chose to chance it and make a run the .75 miles back to campus. When we pulled out onto the street, we were the only ones in sight. Standard tornado procedure is to get out of your car and lie in a ditch. Only we didn't know how close the tornado was, so like a couple of reckless, in-love college kids up for an adventure, we continued driving back to campus. There was an eerieness in the air I will never forget... the intense wind that was whipping back and forth, swaying our car along with it and snapping branches from trees along the road.... but then.... nothing. Complete stillness. As if there were no storm coming. The only indicator that there was trouble were the piercing tornado sirens that could be heard throughout the town, much like a call to worship. The sky had a foreign green tint to it-- something that you truly have to see and experience to believe. You always hear about the calm before the storm... well this time, we were truly right in the midst of the calm before the storm. Sean dropped me off at my dorm, and by this time we had realized we were actually probably in danger. (The stillness + the greenness = trouble in tornado alley....) All the other girls in my dorm were huddled in the basement... we stayed down there for hours, as the sirens blared. This was the night that Carl Junction was hit. Crazy times.... but strangely good memories.
I love this blogger, Aura Joon... I feel like every post I read is spot-on with all the reasons I love my homeland. And her latest post encompasses (with beautiful photography-- bonus!) with uncanny accuracy ALL I love about Oklahoma storms. So go read it.... I love it! I also have to echo her sentiments at the end though... the death and devastation that such storms bring are by no means a good thing or part of the reason I love the strong weather. (What am I? Crazy? ... Don't answer that... But you know what I mean.) But there is something very humbling when you realize that you have absolutely no control over something so powerful and potentially lifechanging... I mean... at any minute a storm could go all Twister on you... definitely puts life and the higher powers that be into perspective, ya know?