A wild storm lifted chairs off the second story deck and tossed them into my neighbor's yard. The garden is feeling a little beaten up, today. And, so am I.
I'm a Midwesterner, born and raised, but I had to move to Salt Lake City to experience my first (up close) tornado. You'd think a gal from 'tornado alley' would know something is up when the sky turns green and the air deathly still. But, not me. I was stuck in stalled traffic, angry that I was late in delivering printed posters to a client at a trade show.
It was like a 'Superman' movie. People were running and pointing at the sky. I thought they were nuts... until I heard a loud explosion and saw a twister hit the generator on top of the Delta Sports Center. It dropped down onto the first car in the traffic jam, a half block in front of me.
Growing up in tornado country you learn what to do. 1) Get out of your car. 2) Head to low ground. 3) Stay calm. Yeah, right.
In my mind, this took 2 hours. In reality, a few minutes. I saw a massive, swirling, grey funnel. And, then every window in my SUV exploded. Like a limp noodle, I slid under the steering wheel and cowered by the gas pedal. I'm not sure what ranked higher on the decibel scale - my screams or the roar of the tornado. Sometimes, in bad dreams, I still hear the sick groan of my truck as it rocked against that pummeling wind.
And, then... silence.
I peeked out at a miraculous thing. Debris swirling all around me but not the slightest breeze near me. Suddenly, it hit again, harder than the first time.
I was in the eye of the storm.