By Jacob Hatcher
I remember walking across the street from my friend’s house and looking up at the sky. I did not know why his grandmother had spirited him away; all I knew was that one second we were watching Mission Impossible on VHS and the next second the power was out. As I looked overhead making my way to my own home I remember saying, “Those clouds sure do look weird.” Of course, there was no one around to hear me, but they looked weird enough that just thinking it to myself didn’t seem quite sufficient.
I wandered into the house and went to call Mama but halfway through my voicemail the phones went dead; or maybe I just got so scared I assumed they had gone dead.
As soon as I put the phone down, I heard the most awful sound I had ever heard in my life. To say it sounded like a train barreling down on me would be cliche, but sometimes things are cliches because they’re such universal truths.
With the benefit of hindsight, I now know that what I did next was not only foolish but incredibly dangerous, but when you’re young and home alone things take a turn fairly quickly. Still not comprehending what was happening, I decided to run to another neighbor’s house, dodging softball sized hail and full grown hickory tree sized trees.
When my neighbor yanked me into his house, he saw the tornado on the ground going up the hill directly behind my house, having seconds before ripped two trees out of our backyard and sacrificing our storage shed on the altar of climate change.
As quick as it came it went away. The strange, eerie green skies turned to crystal clear blue and the birds began to sing like I had never heard before. Like some kind of science fiction movie, neighbors I had never noticed before stumbled from their homes.
Twenty-five years later I’m still fascinated by that day. I’ve long gotten over my fear of storms but every time the wind blows just right I’m that twelve year old boy again. Even if it’s just for a few seconds.