On Saturday a tornado was within spitting distance of my house. News reports state that there were no injuries or deaths from this tornado, which flabberghasts me, because in the morning the weather man suggested that the entire storm would most likely fall apart over the lake (which is what us West Michiganders call Lake Michigan). A series of tornadoes wasn’t even on their radar (forgive the pun) until it started happening.
As we tracked the EF0 to EF1 beast’s progress along a 50ish mile trail through Michigan I found myself totally pumped on one hand, and rather contemplative on the other. The pumped side of me is fascinated by natural disasters. This person imagines a different Lee without a family chasing tornadoes or being a vulcanologist. This is the Lee who decided to become a paramedic. Even when the telltale hook on the radar appeared to be right over our house I was reluctant to seek cover in the basement for fear of missing a glance at what was almost certainly my closest encounter with a tornado for the duration of my life. I was reluctant, my husband refused, and I didn’t fuss about it.
This is where the contemplation starts. Neither my husband nor I are what you would call “risk averse”. In fact, even though I’m a mostly soft spoken introvert, I embrace risk, and my husband, he must have more lives than a barnyard worth of cats because he’s cheated death half a dozen times just this past year.
And I’m okay with that. Because, when he’s doing the things he loves, when he’s out in a canyon trying to stalk a moose just to get bamboozled by another bedded moose, and then stalked by a mountain lion, (true story, and it’s phenomenal) he is doing exactly what he was designed to do. And he is completely alive. The man I fell in love with some 26ish years ago was driven by passion and heart. With our complex family it would be easy to demand that he grow out of it, settle down, and just go through life like everyone else, but that’s the exact opposite of my thinking. I send my husband out on adventures regularly, and likewise he does me, in order to live, to seize the day. If you could just be around my husband in these days leading up to his trip, camping and hunting in the canyon where he not only encountered moose and cougars, but also a mama bear and her cubs, you’d see why I do it. The world is his oyster right now, he’s in the zone, and there’s nothing else I’d rather see.
When is the last time you were completely alive? Sincerely consider it, try to remember. Chances are, if you’re a forty-something like us, it’s been awhile. Do you remember what it feels like? What would it take for you to be totally alive? Do you even know?
When the tornado blasted through our county,I realized afresh how fickle life is. My husband had stepped outside to leave for work, unaware of anything but a little storm, and heard the sirens and turned on his radio. My mom was in her car on the way to our house. Anyone, anyone along that 50 mile stretch could have been struck down, whether they were just subsisting, going to and from a 9-5 with little joy in life, or someone out passionately chasing down the twister with their heart pounding and mind racing.
We get some choices in life. We don’t always get a second chance at our dream career (I’m not going back to school to be a vulcanologist any time soon), but we can at least try, to suck to marrow out of life. To do something brings us back to life. What is your something?