As storms are exploding in the atmosphere around Missouri right now, I want to write about something that I watched last night...that made me cry.
I understand why meteorologist and storm chaser, Mike Bettes, looked across the ruined landscape of Joplin, Missouri and then did the same thing. Many people now know that he broke down right on camera.
He did that because he's human. And who, of the good people among us, could stand in the midst of Joplin's massive devastation...and not react.
Last night, I watched the storm coverage unfold live on The Weather Channel STORM CHASER page. The page includes a comment and information option plus real-time, as-it-happens, video and audio from different sources, including news reporting outlets and a network team of storm chasers.
After an enormous (and oh, was it ever!) tornado twisted it's wicked way through a rural area outside of Oklahoma City...a news crew broadcast this:
There was no audio. But it was obvious that a cameraman was capturing raw video footage for the later news broadcast. And somehow, he knew that what he captured was powerful.
A pretty, little girl, who looked around ten-years-young, dressed in a black dress became the center of that photographer's attention.
She appeared to be lost in a dream (and perhaps, in her mind, she was) as she carefully stepped through the rubble of what used to be her home. An hour earlier, the house had been just another building on an otherwise green, rural landscape.
Now it was a pile of wood, bricks and what was left of everything that her family probably owns.
The little girl sort of danced around, as if she was imagining that she was somewhere else and her movements in the midst of the rubble were surreal.
Suddenly, she bent over and picked up a pink umbrella. She looked at it, and then at the destruction around her and seemed to somehow fix the reality of what had just happened...in her young girl mind.
And then she opened the umbrella and started to dance again. And as she moved, she held the umbrella above her head...like a bright, pink parasol of hope.
My prayers go out to that child, her family and everyone who has been or (sadly) will be affected by a severe storm or bad tornado this year.