I Have Never Seen a Tornado
– February 26, 2017
I have never seen a tornado, but now I have seen its aftermath. A tornado swept through Scattered Oaks in the early hours of the morning. The owners said they heard it “scream” around midnight. Winds were so powerful they sent rain through the windows of their house and pouring from the ceiling to the dining room below.
Shelters in the horse paddocks were blown apart – or disappeared – to be found in adjacent paddocks and fields. Long, grooved metal panels landed twisted in fences or hanging in trees. Willis’ shelter was untouched, standing in his paddock among the mesquite trees, surrounded by tree limbs and fallen debris. Along the sagging ribbon fence near the woods, metal panels slammed against an uprooted tree, while another “roof” hung in the upper branches of a tree. Not far away lay another crushed metal panel. On the opposite fence another shelter lay squeezed against a tree and tangled in the ribbon fence. Willis and his paddock mate, TJ, stood in the midst of it all, remarkably untraumetized, only a slight suggestion of a question on Willis’ face. What happened? Where were you?
The hay barn was torn apart, its huge metal wall jammed into the nearest tree. Rainfall during the storm soaked feed, blankets, tools, other equipment. We set to work, all of us who own horses or ride at Scattered Oaks, picking up debris, hanging horse blankets on the round pen railing; trying to separate what could be salvaged from what couldn’t be saved. The real work is in the rebuilding of the barn and the paddocks. We cleaned stalls and the main barn, took care of horses, and left hauling metal and wood, driving tractors and bulldozers to others – where we couldn’t cause more trouble.
On Tuesday the sun came out. Already progress was visible in the paddocks. Willis stands at the far end of his paddock near the barbed wire fence, watching the mares in the next field. He walks up to me as I approach and I rub his forehead. He seems to have forgotten the tornado.
– Christine Baleshta