While everyday is a juxtaposition of oddities, I prefer a wide spectrum and not bipolar suppositions. Some days they are unavoidable. On a day an ordinary girl walks the center aisle of Westminster Abbey and stands at the apse to marry the one day king of England my countrymen stand amidst the rubble and ruin of their beloved towns, digging through decimation to find anything whole and untouched yet thankful for the dirt encrusted yearbooks or model airplanes with only their propellers missing. While the new bride and groom will be hounded and hunted by paparazzi, a grim and bitter reminder of why the young one-day-king is motherless, cyclonic beasts devoured my countrymen. They cowered in bathtubs of houses built for shelter but not to withstand or even anticipate Class Five tornadoes. Nothing is built for 200 mph winds. And this is no mere wind but a sideways tsunami filled with the vacuumed debris sucked up along its skipping path and smashed headlong into its destination. Death skipping along while slamming entire auto dealerships into buildings and houses with no regard for life or loss. Random and unpredictable and gone in a flash. Poof! normalcy converted to utter destruction that a rational mind cannot reconcile. The juxtaposition of reality with fantasy. There might as well be dancing, live gnomes on the lawn as opposed to pancake stacks of Toyotas from a car dealership 30 miles away.
I know this madness. August 27th 1992 Hurricane Andrew barreled into my life. The devastation and destruction cannot be conveyed. Katrina is no different. Or Hugo. Or Floyd. Or Frederick. We name hurricanes. Maybe because we have time to await their arrival. Andrew started off the coast of Africa August 16th, born and announced. We all watched his smooth and rapid delivery across the Atlantic. We knew he was coming.
Tornadoes give no warning or not enough warning to get prepared. BOOM! The funnel drops out of the sky and there is no place to go, a tango with the devil. Meteorologists can accurately predict a hurricane; tornadoes defy prediction, a supernatural mockery of chaos mathematics. Weather’s obscene gesturing at Doppler radar.
While I could easily turn away from my brethren and envelope myself in the fairytale world of a ordinary girl who will one-day-be-Queen, a girl who invited her piano teacher and town butcher to be witness to her vows, a girl who’s one-day-king groom has a wound so close to his heart she may have more that the madness of royalty to handle although his grief may be the one thing that grounded him and restored his humanity and likely the true gift his mother gave him and possibly his future kingdom, I will not turn away.
I will pray for those picking through the ruins, seeking any small unscathed pieces of their once idyllic southern world. I will pray for those burying their dead or still seeking their lost. I will pray for kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy and cooperation. I will pray for peace of mind and heart. And I will pray that they can find even the smallest of hope or humor. The choice is this or that. Reality or fantasy.