In this blog, I have at times romanticized naturet, with pictures and posts that celebrate the power of its beauty.
But nature has cruel beauty, too -- in its wanton, indiscriminate, unpredictable power of destruction. Witness the horrifying earthquake in Haiti, where, as of today, more than 120,000 corpses have been estimated. Witness the recent tsunami in American Samoa, where a former student lives. Witness the even more destructive tsunami in Thailand several years ago or Hurricane Katrina, which wiped out (permanently) much of New Orleans, my hometown for more than 20 years.
Thursday evening, Sewanee witnessed this beauty when an F1 tornado skipped from location to location, leaving uprooted trees and damaged homes. When the siren wailed, I thought Another warning for a tornado we won't see, but I was wrong. I had no idea of the damage till the day after, and the day after that, I drove myself through the affected neighborhoods.
On occasion, people and other animals respond to this power with grace, as folks in Haiti are doing now and as my neighbors were doing yesterday. In Midway, neighbors gathered up and down the street with chainsaws, clearing and cleaning yards and homes of debris.
And this community is also part of the power of nature.