Tornado Aftermath: Finding the Path Again

There is an 'angle' here, a way to translate the devastation of a natural disaster into something that can't be captured by a camera. Or so I thought until I went through yesterday's photos again, this time with a new eye.

If I were able to go up in a helicopter to take photos of the path of that tornado, then perhaps I'd have a visual of the extent of the damage done, the whole picture. A shot here, a shot there, a hundred shots of what your eye falls on when you go through the area creates a jigsaw puzzle in your mind without the box that shows the finished product.

Last night, when I went through the day's photos, I was looking for the drama, the instant visual jolt. This time, I was looking for something that represented the Big Picture, and I found this photo.

This is only one downed tree, and the two contracted workers were faced with cutting it up in chunks small enough to move. You can see their progress, but there's still a lot to do. They had been working since very early in the morning, and when I took this photo, it was almost 5 p.m. The slump of the man's shoulders and the small step he took as he walked illustrates the toll of the day's labors, with much more; much, much more to do. (Update: I later embedded the slide show, but the photo I'm talking about is included.)

There is the positive. Though working to restore the municipal infrastructure first, that people are working tirelessly at such a daunting, mountainous task, it will all be done, and done rapidly. Last month, I commented about how some people seem dispassionate about what they do and would do better finding another line of work. Yesterday, I saw people working because it had to be done.

A natural disaster brought out personal responsibility.

The people of Carlisle were in shock. I saw many standing in the front door of their houses, watching, waiting, unable to do anything. Their lives are disrupted in unimaginable ways; ways you wouldn't understand unless your safety, your home, your place in the world was assaulted or raped as theirs was. After Mother Nature comes troops of strangers, an invasion that works to clear away the devastation to restore day to day life.

Will it ever be the same?

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