Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You Say Tornahdo, I Say Tornaydo

We’re not in Kansas, but last week a tornado touched down in my neighborhood.  I know, I know, you can’t believe I have enough crazy things happen that I can blog about them twice a week, but here we are, clicking our ruby slippers. 
            What makes this particularly remarkable is that I live in northern California.  This is earthquake country, not tornado country.  And yet last week, just a couple of blocks away, folks were on the nightly news telling about their airborne trampolines, knocked down fences, and tipped over barbecues.

            Funnel clouds, hail, high winds—luckily no livestock in the trees, no witches bicycling by, but still—a tornado!  And, of course the one time it happens, it happens so close that I actually know some of the people whose yards were ransacked.  I kind of wish it had happened in my own yard, because I have some weeds I would dearly love to see whirling off into the sky. 
            I’d say my town of Rocklin was divided into three camps that day:  One group was comprised of folks who were listening to the news, heard a tornado warning and thought, “Now what?” I mean, what can you actually do out here?  There are no storm cellars or basements, nowhere to hide that can’t be snapped up and hurled heavenward.
            The other group just went about their business, noticed particularly dark clouds and thought, “Boy, I hope we get a decent thunderstorm this time.”  
             And the last group, the people who blog or post Facebook photos, were out on their lawns, watching for funnel clouds and hoping to see some action.  Even though I've lived in the Midwest, I have to admit I was in this group.  But some of these folks' entire knowledge of Twisters comes from the Milton Bradley game by that title. 
            We lived in Iowa for three years, heard our share of tornado warnings, and saw the devastation they can wreak.  However, like a tiny temblor vs a huge earthquake, I suspected the most damage we’d see with this one might be a tree falling over on someone’s sidewalk.  And you don’t want much more than that.  The power of nature is fascinating, until it becomes frightening.  And then you really do wish you had ruby slippers.
If you’re a storm junkie, you can read about an amazing storm in the Indian Ocean, right where they’re now looking for the missing Malaysian airliner.  Eerily, that very spot is the setting of my recent novel, Jungle.

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