Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Journal Topic: Danger

What do you feel is dangerous?

Wind and water can be the most dangerous things a person will ever encounter.  I grew up along the Alabama Gulf Coast, hurricane territory.  My first childhood memory explains why I feel wind and water can be so dangerous.  It is of Hurricane Fredrick.  In 1979, I was only 3 years old.  I remember hearing people talk about a storm, but I didn't really know what they were talking about.  I have flashes of memory from this event, flashes that have stayed with me more than 30 years now.  I remember the way the wind sounded, howling like a tortured animal seeking only to end its suffering.  Our house, a strong structure of wood and brick, began to rock.  My mother got us into the hallway, two little girls sitting on a mattress on the floor; she held us and sang songs to keep us calm.  My father walked back and forth, opening doors and peering out windows, lantern in hand, to make sure everything was okay.  Loud cracking noises, like the breaking of bones, were frequent and disturbing.  We didn't realize at the time that pine trees around the house were snapping like twigs in the hands of a giant, angry infant.  

Then, as suddenly as it came, the wind died down and it was calm again.  We walked outside and saw that trees were lying all around the house, but none had fallen onto it.  We saw dark clouds approaching again and hurried back into safety, only to be hit again from the other side as the rest of the storm passed directly over us.  

Water and wind.  Simple things, really.  Things that are usually a blessing, especially during a hot, dry spell like the one we have had this summer.  But these things are not always a gentle shower and a cool breeze.  Hurricanes, tornadoes - these things should be taken very seriously.  They are among the most dangerous things a person can encounter.

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