After the Tornado
The air is still for 3 days after the tornado, and relatively cool. Such a change from the oppressive heat and humidity that the tornado swept away. The stillness and coolness is like a balm.
There is unbelievable destruction all around. I can't bring myself to take photos of the crop damage. Most of the crops had to be mowed down and tilled into the ground. There was no hope for recovery to saleable condition for over 2/3 of the field.
The finality of the tilling-in was heart-wrenching. The lush and beautiful plants, reduced to sheared and tattered debris. There will be almost nothing to sell for a couple months - and this should be the start of the most abundant time of the year!
I feel like the bottom of my stomach has dropped out. I have absolutely no appetite, and I'm completely stunned and in shock as I gradually comprehend the full extent of the damages.
The air is filled with the sound of crying birds, looking for their little ones and their nests that were blown out of the trees.
How far did they go? Who knows. There are very large tree branches that blew over 1,500 feet into the field. There are very few answers to the cries of the mother birds.
Friends and neighbours stop by, surveying the damage, their eyes deeply searching my face. What does someone look like who has lost so much? What do they see?
I want to avert my eyes, but also feel that I don't want to avoid open communication about the losses. It seems easier to stuff the rawness and depth of my feelings down inside - but I know it's better to actively feel the changing emotions in real time. But, it all feels too big to process.
There are expressions of sympathy, and offers for help. We'll need so much help, in every way. I just hope there are continual offers for help for the next several months - because it will take at least that long to clean up and rebuild.
We've learned that there is absolutely no insurance coverage for this kind of loss. It's financially devastating. How to recover financially? Is it even possible? It's overwhelming to think about how long it will likely take.
The power of the storm is unbelievable. The thick ground posts of the greenhouse hoops were snapped in half at ground level. All of them. In mere seconds.
A lot of items that were at the front of the field, near the road, were dropped 3 farms over. Rain barrels, landscape fabric, huge sheets of row cover, buckets, and more... all had to be walked home through the bean fields.
Shade cloth that was tied inside one greenhouse is now perched on the barn roof. It's hard to explain that - really - stuff was blown everywhere.
Trays of seedlings that were on the benches in the nursery greenhouse ended up all over the yard / farm. And yet, that little greenhouse is the only greenhouse still standing! The house and garage protected it from the brunt of the tornado.
Lots more could be said, but I'll finish with this:
As much as the losses are overwhelming and devastating, having so much wiped out also means that there's a clean slate for the future. I don't know how things will shake out at this point. Once we finish more of the cleanup, it might be easier to see a path forward.
For now, we're taking things a day at a time. Cleaning up. Re-planting what's possible to re-plant. And, hoping for a better future.