The tornadoes that hit author Nathan Thompson’s city suddenly become even more real during a bus ride.
I’m on the bus last night, coming home from my yoga teacher training core class. It’s fairly late, around 9:30 pm, and so some of the people getting on are clearly intoxicated, high, or just plain wound up. This includes a woman sitting in the back, loudly talking on her phone, first to her son, and later to her mother-in-law.
Felt myself getting irritated. There’s nowhere to go inside of a bus; the intimacy of the space is palpable at times like this.
At one point, she turns to a guy sitting next to her and they start up a conversation. “I’ve been drinking. I just called my baby. How are you doing, baby?” Everyone is “baby” to her apparently.
The tone of her voice swerves from strong to sweet to totally grief ridden and back again.
I’m sitting there thinking “I just want to be home. Have some peace and quiet.”
Then she says it. “The tornado destroyed my apartment building!” There’s no doubt everyone on that bus heard it. I certainly heard it. It ripped right through me.
As she told the story of being in a basement, listening to people screaming nearby, the tornado closing in on them, all of my thoughts about home and quiet took on a new meaning.
I began wishing the woman well, wondering how the son she spoke to on the phone was doing.
And then I noticed how she kept repeating the story. How the mind keeps going over the territory of trauma, as if in doing so, we can locate what’s necessary to heal.
What had been just an irritatingly loud conversation suddenly became something so much greater and more intimate.
It’s right there under our nose, that intimacy the brings us to life, all the time.
“Tornado” Upper Michigan Source
Recent Nathan Thompson Articles:
- A Balm for Your Body and Mind
- The Gifts of Comfrey
- Learning in the Community Garden
- The Beautiful, Powerful Coneflower