Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On the Power of Nature

After Sandy Hook, I felt rage against man, rage against preventable violence and ignorance.

This morning, as I watch the Oklahoma tornado footage, I feel rage against Nature and about as significant as a dust ball. We build up our homes and inside them we feel safe. We feel tucked in against the elements, like if we just close our curtains against the lightning, it can't touch us. We stay out of our bathtubs during thunderstorms and toss salt on our sidewalks during blizzards. We feel we can control our circumstances, even against the elements.

I'm reminded this morning that this Earth we inhabit is the same one that the dinosaurs ruled, this Earth used to be covered alternately in ice and fire, this Earth used to be savage and wild. And yesterday is a reminder that our Earth is still that Earth.

As our cities grow up and suburbs slowly erase the wild places, as herds of wild animals disappear and our modern technologies take over, we forget. We forget that against the force of Nature, we are essentially powerless. That in the face of a mile-wide funnel cloud, our houses built of wood and plaster and love are as strong as toothpicks or Q-tips, destroyed in minutes, gone.

Last night, as I watched Dancing With the Stars and tried not to imagine those kids inside Plaza Towers  Elementary School, tried not to imagine being their mother, the hosts called for yet another moment of silence for the victims, just as they did weeks ago for Boston and Texas, as they would have done in December for Sandy Hook.

And I was seized with that old familiar feeling that I wanted to lock my family in the house and keeps us barricaded in against the danger because, on nights like this, it just doesn't feel worth it.

And then, again, I remembered. Even that wouldn't be enough.

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