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  • Do you know that feeling, that feeling when you want it so fiercely and with so much of yourself that the urge becomes a hunger? You starve for it with such intensity that patience is pain? You will it to happen for you, to come to you, even though no degree of desire can change what must be left to fate?

    Last Monday I wrote about the parched prairies, about the stubborn moisture that was refusing to return. I wrote about the tornadoes of my past because it seemed there would be none for me to catch in my near future. 'Heartland' was a literary white flag, a surrender to the weather gods, an "oh well", an "uncle".

    My longing became a peace with patience, a calm and simple "what will be will be".

    Well, that Gulf air never did migrate north, and by all measures the storms that formed should not have become too severe. So, when we got on that storm on Saturday, we were expecting a bit of hail and wind, but really nothing too exciting; the ingredients just weren't quite there, Mother Nature just wasn't quite ready. I was prepared and content to take in the gentler side of a thunderstorm.

    And then it began to turn.

    The storm exploded upward, its top soaring to 60,000 feet in the atmosphere. The hail grew larger and larger until stones the size of tennis balls beat down on the van, cracking the windshield and smashing the headlights. Lightning ripped through the sky and a hot, moist wind roared in from the south. The clouds began to twist.

    The first tornado that touched down was such a shock, we almost couldn't believe it was happening; a blunt cone dropped from the clouds, churning a swirling column of dirt and debris through the field next to us. The second tornado was serpentine and the third looked like a daggar. Tornado number four was a dusty tube that lasted only briefly, while the fifth tornado emerged from the rain, grew dark and fat and, for more than twenty minutes, tore through the fields of wheat and alphalpha.

    Funny how, with calm, came the storm that I craved.

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