Yesterday while on my way to pick up a prescription for my parents and drop off groceries for them, a severe thunderstorm moved swiftly through Nashville with straight-line winds of over 80 miles per hour. I pulled into the parking lot of the Walgreens, and by the time I got to the drive-thru, all the lights in the pharmacy went out. Then a whistle gradually got louder and louder, surrounding me in my shelter on wheels.
The winds felt like they were going to lift my car off the ground. I pulled around the building to protect myself from the direction the winds were coming from, put on the emergency brake, and pulled up the Nashville Severe Weather account on Twitter to see if I was sitting in a tornado.
They didn’t know, but I sure as hell shouldn’t have been in a car outside at that moment.
Rachel called to tell me that severe weather was dropping on Nashville, which I knew, but I couldn’t talk. I needed to think.
My heart was beating quickly, and I was growing more concerned, but in an instant, I felt that the worst had passed. I turned the car on and started to head to my parent’s house, which was less than a mile from the Walgreens.
I called Rachel back, and she and my youngest son were in the shelter in our house where we hide in case a terrible storm hits. Good. Not great, but good.
The usual route I’d take to get to my folks was blocked, but I couldn’t see what had things backed up, so I turned around and tried an alternate route. I got about a quarter-mile down the second route and saw a massive tree lying in the middle of the road that had taken a power line down with it.
Now I’m getting worried.
I turned around and tried a third route. A much wider street that was not likely to be blocked entirely. It wasn’t, however a quarter-mile down that road, a pole was down, and a power line had come down on a car. Four lanes were paired down to a single makeshift path for two-way traffic, taking turns in the only space safe enough to pass through.
When I got to my parents, a tree had come down in their cul-de-sac and took a power line with it. I wanted to go in and hug them, but Coronavirus. So I rushed the groceries inside the front door, made sure they were ok and rushed home to check on Rachel and my son.
The ride home took twice as long as usual, navigating street closures and continually stopping at traffic lights that were down.
When I got home, my nerves were shot.
But my power was still on, and my family was safe, and my house was still standing.
Over 130K homes in Nashville had no power after the storm yesterday.
I was lucky and fortunate again. Onward.
I’ve been saying that we can not wish away danger. We cannot eliminate risk. We have to live with both.
Nature doesn’t care about our rationale. Now is not a time to allow others to intellectualize your instincts away.
Whether you think you own your risk or you don’t, you do.
For as much as we are bemoaning this year, 2020 is just that—clear vision. If you were in any way unclear about what mattered most, this year is correcting that for you.
Use that. Use this discomfort and uncertainty. They are the truth, and always have been.
And then when you realize that you have to carry on…
Build The New Normal.
Have a grateful day.