On any given day, we can hold our face towards the sky, breathe in, breathe out. Take in the beauty as it expresses itself in form.
And then, unexpectedly, a mild tranquil scene can change into havoc unleashed. Such was the recent events that leveled an area of houses and a school in Oklahoma City. Such was the power of nature to turn forms made from brick, stone, metal into twisted, bent, broken, unrecognizable shapes – reconfiguring forms and human lives.
Driving back from Iowa this week towards California we passed through Oklahoma City and witnessed the aftermath of the recent tornado. Seeing the impact of such mighty winds and the immensity of destruction was a visual heart-ache and humbling. One huge area that included a school and many homes was leveled, as if King Kong had stomped through mindlessly annihilating matchstick buildings.
The clean-up was in process. With a few backhoes, workers had begun the arduous process of removing the debris. We saw twisted cars, roofs sheered off of houses, pile after pile of wooden boards, entire sides of houses exposed to view – clothes were still hanging in closets, children’s toys lay around – an eerie testament to happier times.
Block after housing block had been destroyed. It looked like a suburban waste-land. In a few minutes, a tornado had shattered homes and dreams. The immensity of the clean-up appeared like it would take months if not years to complete. And in the meantime, what happens to all the family’s that lost their homes, their belongings, and possibly their loved ones.
And yet, we all know how the phoenix can rise out of the ashes. Sometimes the most challenging circumstances can turn our eyes inward. Sometimes nature comes along and forces us to reconsider our lives, to re-evaluate, and possibly to dive deeper, to re-discover the underlying peace, the underlying beauty, the essence of what we truly are.
And so we wish that those affected by the tornado will be able to find strength and loving support through the change. And an inner quiet that nothing, not even a tornado, can disturb.