Just two nights ago I was preparing dinner alone in my house when the radio emergency broadcast alarm went off at the same time as my cell phone’s alarm. The broadcaster firmly said for the people in my town to take cover but I was out of ear shot so I only heard take cover. It had been lightening and thundering as Autumn tries to make her debut but summer will not let go. Literally seconds after the announcer spoke my power began to flash then went out and the house got very dark. The trees in my backyard began swirling with a strange wind bending them one way and then another. It became more fierce and it started violently hailing huge stones of ice. I ran to my back door to retrieve my cat who ran away from me into the storm. I rushed to my basement, opened the door screaming for her to come, now completely drenched, then was blown so hard I used all my might to push the door shut as I watched mother nature spin a furry right in front of me. And then it stopped just like Dorothy when landed in Munchkin land; silent.
I opened the basement slider and walked out into the eery space. Nature was in shock. Tree branches and limbs were strewn everywhere. Pieces of roof and swing set were tucked in random places. A big branch had been stuck straight down in the grass with the tip in the shape of a big “Y.” Then all of a sudden in the trees began this call down the line. They echoed back and forth calling and calling as if they were all checking to see if everyone was okay in their nests. I could not help my “mother instinct” to call to them; my animal family, and reassure them they were alright. And then the squeaks stopped and all was silent.
Ten minutes later human neighbors were doing the same thing as trees had fallen over roads, fences were broken or bent and cars trapped. First responders had already struck flares and closed off roads and some stood out in the rain to help guide people home safely. Only a few mile radius had been affected and so unexpected. We found out later a tornado had touched ground right where we were without much notice.
In 2001, the mothers on my street congregated at the bus stop to hold one another as the towers near our homes began to fall.
In 1994, my neighbors ran from house to house making sure people were not trapped inside after the Northridge Earthquake violently shook our town.
It is in our animal nature to care for each other.
Why does it take a catastrophe to get us out to check on our neighbors?