I wasn’t hurt by the Little Rock tornado on March 31st. Nor was it the closest I’ve been to a tornado. And the destruction I saw in the wake of the 1997 Jarrell, Texas, tornado, might well be impossible to surpass.
In other words, it wasn’t my first tornado. Though I fear them – respecting them enough to out of their path – I am not afraid of them in the same way I am afraid of snakes and flying.
But something flipped in my head during the Little Rock tornado this past Friday.
Clouds, to me, have always been these fluffy shape-changing archetypes of imaginative and creative idleness.
They still are. However, I see their essence as deeper, more dangerous, unpredictable.
A lot of things like this are flipping for me: basic things in most aspects of my life that once seemed reliable and predictable are now unsettled, different, and unpredictable.
A few days after the March 2023 Little Rock tornado, the Little Rock School District cancelled a day of school in anticipation of bad tornado weather.
I’m not criticizing this decision; it was absolutely the right call.
It was not a bad decision, just different. I cannot remember a time in my life or any of my kids’ lives when school was cancelled in anticipation of a tornado.
Sometimes it feels as if society is in the throes of a magnetic reversal, or perhaps a tight-rope walker coming unbalanced, wobbling wildly from side to side before becoming completely untethered from her perch.
I have been thinking about this instability in two ways.
On one hand, I feel compelled to look at the causes for the instability and come up with a plan to fix or stabilize myself within those parameters. That’s the part of me that has brought me great success as an attorney: rational, analytical, industrious, deliberate, engaging in relentless cycles of strategizing of near-immediate actions and reactions. The terminal station on that train line is an aneurysm.
On the other hand, I see the daily instability as the season of life where I am, social, cultural, political instability. A blending of awareness and acceptance perhaps.
That part of me is emerging as an artist, using photography both as a personal visual journal and as a way of processing and expressing my feelings. I don’t yet know what the terminal station on this train line is – but I know the path is more colorful.
On that path, time is an open and endless landscape, with bright “shoulder-to-shoulder” light.
Time is a season: no matter the weather, there is abundance, hope, color, inclusion and tolerance.
Click on the first photo to see the complete photos in gallery format.