I have to admit I am kind of obsessed by tornadoes. I fear and hate them but live vicariously to see each photo the storm chasers put up on Facebook. I am amazed at how much more we know about these storms today then we did in the 70's.
I can't remember the first time I had "the dream" but I do know it occurred regularly every spring for as long as I lived in Kansas. It was one of my first reoccurring dreams. It was my rerun that terrified me and woke me from sleep with my heart screaming in my chest and my breath caught in the depth of my nightmare that was so real to me that I thought I had died.
It was always the same. I was outside, and in the distance I could see that snake of a funnel reaching for the earth. I would turn to run and find myself in slow motion, glancing back to see the tornado take on it's evil persona. It would have eyes, and it's mouth would be yelling in glee at the sight of me, stuck to the earth.
I would desperately try to outrun the beast, but it turned with me and followed me across the pasture, laughing the whole time. It would grow bigger till it filled the horizon. It was evil and it wanted me.
It wanted me dead. There is nothing like the feeling of being chased and not being able to move or move fast enough to escape. I would always wake before it got me, but the terror lingered all my days in Kansas.
I don't even remember the first time I heard about tornadoes. As far as I know in my childhood we never even went through one. I do remember Daddy standing on the front porch watching the sky at sunset. As a farmer they paid attention to every detail of the weather. It meant prosperity or ruin. I never remember having to go down in the basement . (Creepy place on the Bentrup farm.)
Even after we moved to town, Lincoln, Kansas, I don't remember any kind of a tornado warning or going through a tornado. The fear remained though. It wasn't until I was in Salina, KS that I ever went through an actual tornado.
The sirens went off, and I was lickety split in the basement under the stair, holding Nikki, our dog. It drove me crazy with fear that mom was still upstairs watching the beast bear down on us. I screamed at her to get down in the basement, and she kept telling me she needed to watch it. We had basement windows she could watch it. I was sneaking peeks at it in between prayers. It was a monster!
Then it was gone!
It jumped to a nearby hill and wiped out a trailer court. (Really, why would you even have trailer parks in the midwest with tornadoes?) Mom told us we could come upstairs so I went. We watched out our patio door as all these baby funnels were dancing a jig around the hill with the trailer court. The trailer court was wiped out, but no lives were lost. Now I had an actual picture of that monster in my head to view those nights in springtime in Kansas.
After college I moved to Oregon and the nightmares stopped. Oregon rarely sees a rope, funnel or wedge. I call the thunderstorm wussy compared to Kansas. Houses shook in thunder and night was day with the lightening strikes. The only damage we get from thunderstorms in Oregon is forest fires, and they don't seem to have the same fear factor for me. I have been through one of those too!
With the internet now I can follow the storm chasers and watch their videos and view their amazing photographs. I am in awe of what they know now about these storms. I think the storm chasers are crazy to do their job. They must be adrenaline junkies. If I caught sight of a tornado I would be transported right back to my nightmare. I'll take the basement, thank you very much! Oh and living in Oregon!