To the Reader: This is a reprinted excerpt (with link to full story) from a journalist colleague’s article for the Birmingham Weekly, as he surveys that damage wrought by one of the most severe tornado storms on record.
Posted on May 5, 2011 (The Birmingham Weekly)
Life is Precious – Making Sense of the Storms and What Comes After by Jesse Chambers
As I write this, it has been exactly one week since Alabama was left bruised and bleeding by one of the most vicious clusters of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States.
Over the last seven days, I have felt—along with sadness for those who were lost, or who lost everything— a few overwhelming emotions.
I am glad to be alive.
I am glad that my mother, who is nearly 90 years old, is still alive.
The little duplex where I live in Wahouma— a humble enclave between Woodlawn and East Lake—is still standing.
Life itself and the things that make it worth enduring seem precious to me, not things to be taken for granted, but things that can be snatched away with horrifying suddenness.
As I left the offices of the Weekly last Wednesday at about 6 p.m. to go home, I got a text from my friend Matt Hooper. “There’s a badass tornado headed right for East Lake,” he said. “Hunker down, man!”
The storm did not plow through East Lake, of course. It went north and east. And we, my mother and I, were spared. But the storm could easily have destroyed everything I’ve ever known and loved.
Photo: The Birmingham Weekly