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  • Writer's pictureErin Chandler

What Today Brings

“Tornadoes were, in our part of Central Illinois, the dimensionless point at which parallel lines met and whirled and blew up. They made no sense.” David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.

We can make all the plans we want, spout our ideals until we are blue in the face, gripe about our responsibilities and grievances, pat ourselves on the back over accomplishments and dream about our buckets lists but when Mother Nature decides to put her two cents in, none of it means a thing. She wins every time and we are left realizing, albeit temporarily, how fragile we actually are.

Last weekend’s tornado, I believe we can officially speak of it as a tornado, our insurance man agreed as much, brought our town to a screeching halt in a matter of seconds. I was on a drive along Pisgah Pike with my aunt as is our Friday routine when we saw the dark clouds closing in on the beautiful sunny afternoon. I decided I better close up the bookstore when the rumblings of thunder made it apparent that a storm was swiftly coming our way. I jumped out of the car and locked the doors just as the rain began to fall. Thirty seconds later driving up Elm Street, it began to get violent. Within a minute I was pulling up into my aunt’s garage and a giant tree fell directly onto the side of the house. A few yards away, another one fell across the street, making Elm Street impassable.

As soon as whatever force that had ripped through the town mellowed, I saw a few young men run into the street to pick limbs, coming dangerously close to the live wires under the 100-foot Oak sprawling across the road. Another good Samaritan jumped out of his car and yelled to the barefoot teens to stay away from the wire and go home.

Looking at the massive amounts of trees downed on Midway road and the hundreds downtown Versailles, we are beyond blessed there were no fatalities. It was most certainly divine intervention that none of us were hurt. Mother Nature found it in her heart not to end our sweet community, she just shook us up and left us in the dark for a while.

Three giant trees that for centuries have provided shade over our two-hundred-year-old home, are now uprooted, covering the entire back yard, falling together to form a twisted jungle cave that looks… well like a tornado hit them. Who knows why these beauties lasted as long as they did and out of a clear blue sky turned dark gray, it was decided they would be no longer.

The landscape of Versailles has forever changed but that is and forever will be the nature of nature. Maybe we should bow our heads and praise that which is more powerful than any of us human beings could ever dream because as Elisabeth Kubler Ross said, “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”

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