Tornado– Up Close and Personal

 Tornado– Up  Close and Personal

Our neighborhood looked like a junk yard, with trees and branches strewn about, splinters poking up at odd angles. stones and leaves and underbrush underfoot and across the roads. These are just a few of the hundred photos I took, all on and around our property:

   Copy of Transfered from Compaq 079IMG_0561Copy of Transfered from Compaq 075

   Transfered from Compaq 086

Electrical power lines that had fallen still lay mangled where they fell. The ground bore tire prints of a bulldozer that had entered and retreated, entered and retreated. Huge cylinders of tree trunks that had already been cut lay next to each other, moved just off the road so that cars could pass.  The scent of raw wood hung everywhere.   Tornado and Dawn on Lake Shish 018

We did not recognize our own road, except by our mangled mailbox on the corner:   IMG_0520 Copy of Transfered from Compaq 081

Our property suffered less damage than the dozen other properties along our little penninsula. An immense oak tree had fallen on our deck, the deck my father built eighteen years ago. Another  tree dug into  the edge of the garage roof. Our pier was intact and only our boat cover was damaged. The second picture (of the house) was taken from the pier.

 Tornado and Dawn on Lake Shish 003 Transfered from Compaq 098

Most of our neighbors had trees through roofs, boats overturned or missing, and/or piers ripped out of the shore. 

Some people had been sleeping when the trees fell on their houses, and they slept through it! Some people had awakened, terrified, and  listened to trees falling around them. The sound was like “a barrage of gunshots.”

The wind seemed to haved dug into the ground and ripped the trees out from below their roots:

After we got over the shock, Mom and I worked like donkeys, raking and gathering debris and scattering it deep into the woods. Then, we ran around the city getting estimates for tree removal, deck reconstruction, and boat cover replacement.

The work took three full days. Between teardrops and sore muscles, we gave thanks to Allah for the blessings He’d given us all these years– the lovely summer days, the family gatherings, the friends and relatives who’d shared it all with us, and the hope of more such blessings.

The landscape has been profoundly altered, and cannot be restored except by time and nature. Still, much beauty remains:



About Marahm

At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer. I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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9 Responses to Tornado– Up Close and Personal

  1. Aafke says:

    How terrifying! a tornado is one of my biggest fears!
    But it seems that, after all, you were quite lucky.
    Not to have been there when it happened, and oversee-able damage.

    The pictures are beautiful, I looove the last one.
    I also love your new header.

    I can’t get over your description of people who didn’t even wake up!!!!

  2. birdpress says:

    Wow, seeing the damage must have been heartbreaking. The place is really beautiful, and I’m sure you must have a lot of great memories there. I’m glad to see you are still able to see the beauty in it and look forward. All is not a total loss.

  3. Marahm says:

    Thanks, Aafke. Yes, we were lucky, indeed. We could have been there, easily. We would have been terrified, too.

    Taking the photos was helpful in accepting what had happened, and being thankful for what had not happened. I’m getting into my new camera. The last three photos were taken at dawn, just outside the house. The header was taken outside a hotel in Galway.

    Birdpress, thank you. Yes, the memories are many and lovely, especially for Mom, who has spent many summers there with Papa. You are right– all is not lost. In fact, most is not lost.

  4. Umm Ibrahim says:

    Masha’Allah you live in a really beautiful place Marahm… sorry to hear about the damage but alhamdu Lillah you are ok and I hope you are able to ifx things back up the way you want them.

  5. Marahm says:

    Thank you, Umm Ibrahim. We are going to have the deck rebuilt, insha Allah. The landscape, around our house will need many years to grow up again, but the shore is OK, and many nice trees remain.

    Nature is Nature. It acts according to the will of Allah, and all we have to do is work with it, and not curse it or feel too angry about what it brings.

    I’ll be spending more time there this year, so I hope to submit more photos showing the singular beauty of the area.

  6. Shahrzad says:

    So horrible tornado. 😦

    I am so sorry for this happened to your property and i pray it restores soon. In Iran we have kind of natural events too.

    Very beautiful fotos. I’ll check your fotos on flickr too..

  7. Marahm says:

    Thanks, Shahrzad. Have you yet written a post on Iran’s natural events? That would be interesting. We hear about earthquakes in that area, but nothing else.

  8. Sumera says:

    It must be heartbreaking and eerie coming back home to that 😦 hope you manage to clear it out and make your house a home again 🙂

  9. Marahm says:

    Thanks, Sumera. Yes, we worked for three days to clear the debris, and arrange for tree removal, deck repair, etc. Mom was very pleased with our progress. She has spent many summers there during the past thirty-five years, and feels very sentimental about the place. This year is hard because my father passed nearly five months ago.

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